That's a pretty f*cking fast three years flew by.
Three years ago to the day, Frank Ocean released one of his most impactful bodies of work. Less than twenty-four hours before Blonde arrived on streaming platforms, fans were left watching a live stream of the reclusive artist building a staircase. Once his construction came to a close, Ocean allowed us into his creative space with the visual album Endless, which would be the final project released on his Def Jam deal. Endless is criminally underrated as a body of work and much of the reason why it doesn't get mainstream attention is because it's so difficult to come across. Song titles are still unclear on streaming and only a miniature percentage of folks actually want to scroll through the over one-hour-long video to find the track they want to listen to. Blonde, on the other hand, is highly-celebrated and is often viewed as Frank Ocean's opus. Today, we recognize how incredible this album truly is.
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Without even diving into the timelessness of the actual audio being presented in Blonde, the greater context of the album's release is worth noting. Hours before it was even a real thing, Frank had come through with Endless, effectively (and ironically) ending his tenure as a Def Jam artist. Not more than a day later, he released the real deal with Blonde, finessing the industry and cashing in on his own talent. Given Frank's newfound independence, the majority of the album's profits went directly to his bank account. While we would absolutely love to hear a new body of work from the former Odd Future crooner, he's been keeping himself holed up in his home, posting sporadic shots to his obscure Instagram page from time to time. His use of social media can, oddly enough, be compared to his musical mastermind on Blonde.
Even three years after it dropped, memories are still being spawned from Frank Ocean's beautiful Blonde. Experimental with vocal effects, depth, pitch, and much more, Frank arguably did more for himself than anybody else in 2016. This album defines who he is as an artist: an imperfect, passionate, and relatively fearless man who lives through his craft. Before Blonde, there were moments that we saw Frank for who he is, like on Channel Orange's nine-minute-long "Pyramids." From Beyoncé and Yung Lean's hidden contributions to the long-lasting effect songs like "Nights" and "White Ferrari" can instil within us, Blonde is a pure masterpiece. Three years later, it still runs as smoothly as it did when it was first released. Revisit the classic project below and stay tuned for whatever Frank has going on next.