Why do I write about Frank Ocean?
I mean, dude isn’t hip hop, right? He’s an R&B singer who occasionally jumps on hip hop shit. I still say that Frank Ocean is part of hip hop though, even if he doesn’t necessarily make hip hop.
Dude started with Tyler and Odd Future and them
The first time most people heard of Frank was when Tyler, the Creator got him into Odd Future and they started making shit together, particularly She off of Goblin (where he not only sang the chorus but also laid down a dope verse to kick it off). Then folks went back to listen to nostalgia, ultra and realized that Frank had a bunch of shit going for him, like his excellent voice and writing.
Then Channel Orange came out, and so did Frank. The album was dope as shit and his world takeover had begun. His subject matter ranged from playful to serious, individual to societal, and he seemed to have a little something for everyone. R&B was falling back a bit to other genres, but by incorporating a little electro and a little hip hop Frank stopped that slide.
He’s R&B, but he’s got hip hop undertones
Sometimes, dude sings like he’s rapping, and his subject matter is usually more reserved for hip hop than R&B (see: Crack Rock, Pyramids.) He’s got a swagger about him that complements his vulnerability perfectly, and he takes himself seriously one second before undermining himself in the next song in a way usually only rappers do. He definitely came up listening to a lot of R&B (and even writing some, like for John Legend), but he also clearly listened to a lot of hip hop coming up.
Look at who he works with
A lot of singers work with rappers, but he’s worked with a lot of them. I already mentioned Tyler, the Creator, and with him comes Earl Sweatshirt and Domo Genesis and the rest of Odd Future. He’s also worked with Andre 3000, Nas and Pharrell (who is mad hard to define himself.) The people he’s worked with shows that he’s a big fan of (dope ass) hip hop, so I’ma just go ahead and consider him hip hop too. That’s why I write about Frank Ocean even though I don’t necessarily write about other R&B, because he might as well be hip hop.