Frank Ocean sat down with Gayletter for the cover of their latest issue, which released on Tuesday (April 16). Ocean opened up about his creative process in music, crafting the Boys Don’t Cry magazine, leaving Def Jam, how he’s really over six foot tall, plus more.
After saying he’s been in the studio a lot when splitting his time between Los Angeles and New York City, Frank divulged some of his songwriting methods. “If I’m working on lyrics, I might as well be in a vacuum-sealed container,” he said. “I just need to be on my own. If I’m working out a vocal performance, I need to be on my own or with my engineer.”
Ocean then explained how his process have really evolved over the years, and used collaborating with A$AP Rocky on Testing‘s “Purity” as an example of creating in a communal environment.
“I just started improvising that verse and putting it together, which is something I would do on my own, where you’re listening with your headphones on, listening to the beat over and over, and you’re piecing it together in your head and you blurt out the verse,” Ocean said. “That’s kind of how it works. Maybe you’ll blurt out a few bars and you’ll loop it around and get your next bars and you’ll piece it all together, and that’ll be your verse. But sometimes the energy of having an audience, even if they don’t say shit, that adrenaline or whatever that is.”
The conversation then returned to Rocky, as Ocean set the record straight about how the Mob frontman’s math didn’t add up when discussing Frank’s split with Def Jam/Universal on The Angie Martinez Show in January.
“I was like, ‘Rocky, I think we gotta review the CliffsNotes of that situation because you got a couple parts a little fucked up,'” he said. “I don’t even remember what he got wrong, but I remember what was correct. When I heard it I laughed, because I was like, It would be Rocky who would say that, ’cause I probably would never have given the real, explicit version of it.”
The “Chanel” singer provided some context to how his Boys Don’t Cry magazine came together around the same timeframe when Endless and Blonde were being worked on. “It was a couple of years for sure. There were a lot of on-location things, from Mississippi to China to Berlin, New York, Japan, Senegal. So many places,” Ocean said. “The opportunity to work with Ren Hang before he passed away, sadly. Going out to China for that.”
Check out the rest of the interview with Gayletter, which includes a flex of Frank hanging out with Barack Obama and making sure everyone knows he’s indeed 6’1″ instead of the 5’11” that comes up on Google.