In 2016, Frank Ocean pulled off one of the biggest coups in the history of the American music industry when he finessed his independence with the back-to-back releases of Endless and Blonde. By fulfilling his contractual obligations with the Apple Exclusive Endless, Frank was able to release Blonde one day later as an independent artist and make a killing from the album's commercial success. It's an achievement that has nearly become a modern legend, but it was not the last bold move that the former Odd Future artist would make. Nearly seven months after unleashing Blonde, Frank returned with the nonheteronormative anthem "Chanel."
"Chanel" has a lot of amazing qualities squeezed into its three-and-a-half-minute runtime. Its moody piano-driven production yields moments of infectious bravado, sheer honesty regarding Ocean's bisexuality, and pure tenderness. The song notably kicks off with the legendary line "My guy pretty like a girl/And he got fight stories to tell," which, while empowering, was an unprecedented thing for a mainstream R&B and Hip-Hop artist to say at the time. The song's "See both sides like Chanel" chorus is equally iconic, and it remains a subtle, yet lyrically robust reference to one's sexuality, outlook on life, and so much more.
Four years later, are you still bumping Frank Ocean's "Chanel?"
V both sides of the 12
Steam both sides of the L
Freeze smoke rings and they hail
Sleet snow grind for the wealth
Whole team diamonds is real
Showed 'em how to shine by theirselves