Track Review: Frank Ocean, ‘Chanel’
Frank Ocean drops a new single, “Chanel” out of the blue. “Chanel” addresses Oceans’ career, money, and sexuality.
Frank Ocean is a one-of-a-kind artist. His music sounds unlike anything or anybody else. While he is characterized as an R&B musician, he is much more versatile than any label given. Ocean returns with a surprise new single “Chanel,” which is definitely deeper than its title.
From the jump, Ocean keeps it real, referencing sexuality, specifically, bisexuality.
“My guy pretty like a girl / And he got fight stories to tell / I see both sides like Chanel / See on both sides like Chanel.”
Before releasing Channel Orange in 2012, Ocean revealed he was bisexual, a rarity in hip-hop music and culture. Here, he is comfortable sharing his sexual preferences, likening it to Chanel. There are more references to sex as well, particularly the male member (catch the drift?).
“Dick could roll the eyes back in the skull / Rolling when you ride, poppin’ / Rolling when you ride / Ride the Rodman / Got one that’s straight acting / Turnt out like some dirty plastic.”
Fascinatingly, part of the aforementioned is the reference to roles in the gay community (straight acting). His boyfriend is gay, but publically presents himself as a straight male.
At other times on “Chanel,” he seems to focus on cars and his career as opposed to his sexuality.
Near the end of the song, he states:
“I got new money / And it’s all cash / I got new bags / And they all collabs.”
Prior to that, he brags about his status in the game singing:
“I need that b*tch to grind on my belt / I know you need to try for my belt.”
On verse two, he references a V12 engine, later characterizing his vehicle.
“No matte black on the ride ‘cause its stale / but it’s stealth.”
As always, a Frank Ocean song is jam-packed. “Chanel” is no different. While in one sense, this single is “all over the place,” in another, it makes perfect sense when deconstructed. “Chanel” is powerful because it is personal, finding Ocean sharing his innermost thoughts and philosophies. From the powerful opening line “My guy pretty like a girl,” he engages the listeners to see where he plans to explore next.