Frank Ocean’s first studio album, Channel Orange, was released on July 10, 2012 after he came out with his well received mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra in 2011 which gained him a growing fanbase. Since Nostalgia’s album was full of samples that Ocean would use to create a platform for a song by using the background music and making a voice over with his own lyrics, the bad reviews overrode the good as many artists did not give Ocean permission to use their songs. He did this with various popular artists music, such as The Eagles’ Hotel California, Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing, and MGMT’s Electric Feel. Although, for Channel Orange, Ocean wanted to make the album his own. In doing this, he began writing more original music with producer Malaya, discovering his own authentic sound, and not having to rely on another artists work to become known.
With it’s riveting sound and dramatic range, Channel Orange is more than just an album. It’s a story about a love that Frank is trying so hard to get over. Before the album was released, Ocean came out as gay on his Tumblr account, creating much controversy. As the rap world was/is notorious for its homophobic nuances, such as using slang terms to slander those who are gay, Ocean’s courageous act gained him both support and disdain for his sexuality. With this, the artist released his Grammy Award winning album that was soon to sweep hearts and minds across the US like nothing before. In turn to the choice of making his own original sound, Frank surprised everyone with the intensity of each song, and the sole message implanted within their complicated but soothing lyrics.