Frank Ocean – Solo & Solo (Reprise)

Frank Ocean is by far one of my modern favourites. I have no problems in admitting this. Channel Orange is easily one of my favourite albums this side of 2010 regardless of genre, second only to good kid m.a.a.d city. So needless to say, I’ve been yearning for a new album for a while now, and was very saddened on the numerous occasions I like many others were trolled by the supposed release dates of the record.

Eventually however, at the end of the summer, it finally dropped. And for me, it delivered in many ways; It was more risky artistically than his previous work and reasonably some fans wouldn’t like it. I loved it but instead of writing for an age about how much I appreciated this, I’ve selected two personal highlights in the album. One doesn’t even feature Ocean but that’s besides the point.

“Solo”. Okay, Frank’s flow in this song is heavenly in the sense that it effectively refines that singing/rapping hybrid that many artists attempt in modern music but many can actually pull off. Kendrick Lamar in recent songs (Listen to “untitled 2” for evidence) is one, but the singing here is just several levels above the vocal performance in those type of songs. The singing itself involves Frank’s usual mix of falsetto and encapsulating vocals that soothe the ears. So many yes’ to this song.And what really draws me in about Frank Ocean as an artist, in this song especially but in most of his songs is his focus on lyrics. In many ways, he treats lyrics in the same way many of his contemporaries in the rap genre do, with double meanings and metaphors abound. If you doubt this, just go on RapGenius yourself, and look at the dissection of the lyrics and the subsequent multiple allusions throughout. There aren’t many other RnB singers with that level of complexity in their lyrics nowadays.

And this leads perfectly into why I love “Solo (Reprise)” too. Andre bloodcl*rt 3000. This legend. This is how you maintain a legacy, keep it fresh. Dip in, Dip Out. Take notes Jay-Z and Eminem (There are others but these are the two biggest). The flow Andre uses on this track is insane; It’s relentless and the rhyme patterns are actually incredible to behold. From merely a technical standpoint it’s a marvel to behold and that’s before you even get into the lyrics themselves. They touch on everything from Police Brutality, to the ills of commercialism, Feminism and even the use of ghostwriters in hip hop. And he does this all inside of 80 seconds. It’s mind boggling if I’m being honest. It’s been a while and I still can’t wrap my head around how incredible this, what is essentially a snippet of a song is. Whereas when Desiigner makes a song similar in length to this in “Shooters” and it feels brief and unfulfilling, Andre does more in less time and it feels filled with content. An age could be spent deciphering the complexities of the verse and it just goes to exemplify the standard of music throughout this album. Please go listen to the album if you haven’t already.

Verdict on Frank Ocean and Andre 3000 – Are you dumb?!

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