I am not going to start this post off with some history about Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All like most people do because frankly I have purposefully kept my distance. They have some songs I enjoy but for the most part I am still assessing how I feel about them personally but objectively speaking (or writing as it were) they are talented and have the potential to be the West Coast Wu-Tang Clan (BLASPHEMY!)
What I will do is focus on one particular offering from one of the members, Frank Ocean. For those who haven’t gathered OFWGKTA is a rap group comprised of various members. The one stand out to me has been Frank Ocean and his Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape on asserts that he will definitely go far. Nostalgia, Ultra takes a break from the rapid fire, at times disturbingly detailed stylings of OFWGKTA and takes a quiet, slow stroll down the coast. This is an album you can play while laying in the park at night looking up at the stars with that special someone. It is a true R&B/Soul mixtape and Frank’s voice fits nicely into the melodic beats.
Opening to the sound of a tape deck you immediately feel like you are back to a time when the message in the music mattered more than the visual aesthetic. It is definitely a great departure from the shirtless
begging crooning stylings of say a Trey Songz or the singles crafted by a former comedian. Nostalgia, Ultra is less a mixtape and more of an album in the sense that Frank Ocean is building songs. It wouldn’t make sense to sell this short and call this anything less that what it is.
He sings about the simple things that happen between a man and a woman. Experimentation through love. The ups and the downs. The highs and the lows. It’s almost a throwback to when you used to make mixtapes for girls to tell them how you felt. Maybe that is the nostalgic aesthetic that Frankie O was trying to achieve but I can tell you that he was successful in his execution. This is not just an album I like but this is an album I am pretty sure I could get my grandmother to listen to if it were on vinyl.
The critic in me wants to find something wrong with this
mixtape album but honestly I can’t find anything wrong with it. I think one of the things I think I will enjoy the most about this is that since Frank Ocean, along with all of the other members of OFWGKTA, is based in Los Angeles that I may be able to catch a show of his in an intimate enough setting to find out if the last piece of the music industry puzzle is there: the fans. R&B has always been a genre based around being genuine to one’s emotions but as of late has been rampant with radio singles that have long since disconnected from the soulful roots and more into the “Lets play this in the club.” Frank’s return to the roots definitely make this an outing worth listening to.
Judging from the amount of people who have seemed to become fans of this mixtape it seems it is only a matter of time before Frank is balancing duties between Odd Future and his own, hopefully, successful singing career. I just hope fans will be able to take the stark contrast between his group dynamic and his solo efforts because I will never deny the talent of any member of the group but one must always remember that no one man is bigger than the group.
The highest point of the mixtape to me was American Wedding which takes Hotel California and turns it into a modern tale of what marriage in America has become. Any romantic will easily find themselves playing this song over and over again. All in all I hope that R&B singers are taking notice that there is a new contender in the ring because if this is just the first outing then by his second outing you may see some of your favorite singers flipping burgers at Burger King. If you are interested in finding out for yourself or in finding out about Odd Future hit the link below.
As much as I want to say I ran up on Odd Future by myself I have to give credit where credit is due. My first introduction to Odd Future was from my [unofficial] sensei Dart Adams and The Smoking Section is who put me on Frank Ocean’s Nostalgia, Ultra.