Frank Ocean has been on everyone’s radar since he revealed he was once in love with a man. And since the debut of his album Channel Orange, he has finally successfully answered one question for me: Is Channel Orange considered R&B? I remember asking this question on Twitter and getting no responses. I would only call it R&B because Frank is singing and he’s black, but that’s an assumption Frank wants to be put to rest.
Channel Orange has more to offer than melodic tones and vivid lyrics. This is why I questioned it’s genre. It doesn’t give me the feel of R&B, even though reminding me of some of the tracks from the 90s like Mary J. Blige’s Real Love in Super Rich Kids (but my friend, Rudy, says Deep Inside because of that rhythmic, steady beat.)
Frank Ocean sat down with Respect Magazine and told them what the true genre of his music is, and it’s an answer that I find satisfactory.
How do you categorize yourself? I know you’re not too comfortable with the R&B label.
I just think R&B is so racial. I’m going to borrow a line from Duke Ellington and say it’s “beyond category.” Pharrell has told me to say I’m a singer/songwriter, because that’s what I really am. I don’t want to step off into the “Don’t label me because I’m black” realm, but I would say any artist that is killing it right now has long since abandoned genre and expanded past certain labels.
I wish more black artist would abandon genre and move past many of the labels they have been given since the beginning of their career. Channel Orange has debuted at #2 with an estimated 130,000 units sold by digital copies alone. That’s amazing. I can’t imagine what the sales will be like next week since the physical copy dropped yesterday.
Have you gotten Channel Orange, and what’s your favorite track?