Frank Ocean Readying Sophomore Album, Earl Sweatshirt's Debut 'Raw and Uncut,' Says Producer Om'Mas Keith

Nabil Elderkin

The producer says Ocean told him to be ready to get back to work

“I’m here to help you execute,” Om’Mas Keith told Billboard recently while cruising Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. That’s the talk the production wizard tells artists that he works with. And he did just that with thoughtful crooner Frank Ocean’s debut album “channel ORANGE” – to the tune of six Grammy nominations for this Sunday’s music industry showcase.

After the Odd Future singer and producer Malay built a skeletal version of “ORANGE,” Keith was asked to help flesh out the ideas. By the time the album came out last July, it was a well-developed piece of art. And this weekend the trio will find out if they get to go home with accolades such as Album the Year, among others. But just because they seem to be a shoe-in for a least a trophy or two doesn’t mean they’re resting on their laurels. Soon they’ll get back to together and get cracking on Ocean’s sophomore album.

"He came over to the studio and said we’re about to get back to work again," Keith said. "So it’s just that creative talk, where we know we’re about to get back into the studio soon. I’m just not sure when."

The producer said that the touring that Frank’s been doing since releasing his debut has helped him mature as an artist.

"He’s better off now than he was a year ago creatively, harmonically, sonically and musically,” Keith said. “We haven’t been immersed like that since we stopped working on the album, but I know that Frank is on a continual quest for knowledge. He doesn’t stop on the knowledge tip.

“Where I left with him at the end of recording 'channel ORANGE,'" he was epic,” Keith continued. “I can only imagine where he’s at now. I think his prowess will only grow as the years go past."

Om’Mas is staying in the Odd Future family in the meantime, also assisting on Earl Sweatshirt’s major label debut album as a producer and musician.

He didn’t want to let too much out of the bag, but did give props to the rapper’s lyricism and content.

“Raw and uncut,” Keith replied when asked of Sweatshirt forthcoming album. "Earl knows how to ride the beat. His raps are going to be eloquent and well thought out. His delivery is impeccable. It’s amazing to work with a young brother that’s so damn smart that you can hear it in the rhymes. And it’s not corny.

"His raps aren’t abrasive on the spirit or on your desire for individuality. It may be in the words that he uses, but it’s not preachy in a way that makes you uncomfortable."

As well as being a highly touted producer, Keith also has released a free album of his own recently, "City Pulse." It’s a bouncy, whimsical effort, rife with ‘80s synths and flowing tales of love. Check it out on his SoundCould page.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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