Could the wait finally be over? After four long years, it looks like Frank Ocean might be ready to release his follow-up to 2012’s Channel Orange, Boys Don’t Cry.
So far, the singer-songwriter has kept the mystery alive, staying mum about his sophomore project despite teasing a July 2015 release a long, long time ago. Still, there’s a trail of hints about the forthcoming LP thanks to the singer’s Tumblr and the Internet. Here’s everything we know about Frankie O’s upcoming album.
The Release Date
On Monday (Aug. 1), the New York Times reported that Boys Don’t Cry will be released on Aug. 5. While the news came from an anonymous source, even the publication acknowledged that Ocean could still very well change his mind and delay the album again. For now, though, this is the closest to a solid release date fans have received this year.
It also beats that cryptic library “Date Due” slip that appeared on Frank’s website last month. The post teased a potential July release date while possibly acknowledging the many other potential release dates that have come and gone. Interestingly enough, the post also features “Nov. 13, 2016” as a date, but its significance is unknown.
The Streaming Service
This one goes to Apple Music. The Times revealed that Boys Don’t Cry will be exclusive to the streaming service for at least two weeks. Keen fans might have seen this coming when a mysterious video popped up on Frank’s website early Monday morning (Aug. 1), which prominently featured an Apple Music watermark.
The Visual Component
The mysterious Boys Don’t Cry livestream on Frank’s site this week is likely the first sample of the album’s upcoming visuals. His collaborator Francisco Soriano — who also shot Ocean’s 2013 video for “Lost” — said he directed that mysterious clip in a since-deleted post on Instagram.
Artist Tom Sachs has also said he was involved in the making of the video. Sachs recently told The Fader that the clip “was shot in the past year” and includes Toyan’s, an art piece by him that is currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum. Sachs says that he and Ocean have “an ongoing creative dialogue” and that they’re also “dicking around with” other projects.
NYT also reported that Ocean’s Apple deal includes a “major video.” It’s unclear whether that includes the mysterious clip on Ocean’s site.
In April 2015, Frank teased the album and his publication, both titled Boys Don’t Cry. “I got two versions,” he wrote in the Tumblr post. “I got twoooo versions.” Then, he added the hashtags #ISSUE1 #ALBUM3 #JULY2015 #BOYSDONTCRY. Neither surfaced since.
Now, the Times reports that the publication will be released alongside the album and will become available at Apple stores on Friday. No word yet on whether the publication is connected to the novel Frank’s reportedly been working on. Reps for Apple and Ocean’s Def Jam label did not respond to Billboard‘s requests for comment.
It’s hard to guess who the collaborators will be on an album that has presumably taken four years to make, but there are some names that could end up on Boys Don’t Cry.
In 2014, a preview of Nas’ collaboration with Ocean on “No Such Thing as White Jesus” surfaced, but the track’s producer, Hit-Boy, later admitted that the song was lost along with a hard drive.
Other potential collaborators reportedly include Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Happy Perez, Charlie Gambetta and Kevin Ristro.
The Channel Orange Comparisons
While working on James Blake’s The Colour in Anything project, Frank apparently previewed new tracks for the British crooner. According to Blake, it could very well top Ocean’s Grammy-nominated debut Channel Orange. “I was more of a fan of him when I heard his newer music,” Blake told Rolling Stone in May. “It’s better. You grow, you improve, you nail a new message to the board. He’s had time to mature. It’s really cool to watch.”
The Recording Process
Frank’s likely been crafting Boys Don’t Cry for the better part of four years and according to producer/engineer Malay, it’s definitely been a laborious effort. “I feel like he’s working harder than he’s ever worked in his life,” Malay told Pitchfork in March. “I’m excited for everyone to hear it. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised, for sure.”
Another person who says that the hard work has paid off is Chance the Rapper. During a May interview with Complex, Lil Chano offered high praise for the LP. “I am good friends with Frank,” he said. “His new album is amazing. No one really is able to find Frank when Frank goes away. Like, literally no one, not just publications, but I know he’s away, making a masterpiece.”