Track Review: Frank Ocean, ‘Biking’
Frank Ocean returns with another captivating single, “Biking.” He enlists Jay Z and Tyler, the Creator to assist with verses.
What does Frank Ocean have up his sleeve? Apparently, another new single, following “Chanel.” This time, it’s “Biking,” featuring Jay Z and Tyler, the Creator. Ocean has collaborated with both artists in the past, yielding nothing short of magical results. On “Biking,” the end result is the same. The combination of all three artists – a force to be reckoned with. Well, maybe not quite a force, but there’s some magic for sure…
Jay Z kicks off “Biking,” referencing terms associated with it. In his intro, his first line references circular motion, in the context of life: “Uh, turn, what goes around comes around…” On his verse, he continues with such references.
“Life goes in cycles, what comes around goes around… / Willie in the traffic, I’m Philly nice, uh / E.T. on the handles / Handlebars like a Xanax…”
Jay Z is alright but doesn’t truly bring out the WOW factor. Frank Ocean follows Hov, showcasing his beautiful vocal tone. On his first verse, he sounds chill:
“When’s the last time I asked for some help that / I couldn’t get from nobody else, yeah?”
Things intensify on the chorus, also performed by Ocean. If he was cool as a cucumber on verse one, the same can’t be said of the chorus.
“I don’t get weak in the knees / Hundreds spread out like a fan / Vert feels like some Gucci sandals / Open the sky, get a handful / Torso marked up like a vandal / How you not f*ckin’ with cash? / God gave you what you could handle / Gave you what you could handle / I got the grip like the handle / and I’m bikin’.”
The second Frank Ocean verse is more hip-hop driven, contrasting the more relaxed vibes of the first verse. Verse two is quicker, and more rhythmic. Ocean raps about a little bit of everything, but throughout his bike references, he manages to reference his own life journey, even if it’s a bit tough to decipher without multiple listens and deep analysis.
Tyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator segues from Ocean’s final verse. While he’s relatively quick and rhythmic like Ocean, he doesn’t get too caught up. There’s a nonchalant approach – nothing too high strung. Like the verses preceding his, Tyler, the Creator continues to make reference to biking.
“From Coldwater to the Shaw / Alcoholic way I handle the bars… / Pedal, I drown in the heat… / Nigga one wheel, I fishtail downhill, yeah / I rose my rate, brand new brakes / Why I name it Slater? Ask my date.”
Fittingly, Frank Ocean concludes his record with the chorus and a super energetic outro. The outro isn’t profound – he’s rapping about money. Ultimately, “Biking” is incredibly ambitious. It’s not exactly accessible, nor is it totally inaccessible either. Ocean certainly isn’t outperformed by his pals, particularly Jay Z, who comes off as the weakest of the bunch. Overall, this is another welcome addition to the Ocean collection, even if it lacks finesse.