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Frank Ocean: "I'd rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys"

Ralph Bristout

 // Nov 16, 2016

The ever-elusive Frank Ocean opens up about everything concerning him, the controversial release of his dual album, and purposely detaching himself from the 2017 Grammys in a rare interview with the [New York Times].

Following the impromptu releases of Endless and Blonde, next year's Grammys received surely candidates for golden gramophone honors. However, by Ocean's own doing the records will not enter the hallowed halls of the coveted ceremony. Speaking to Jon Caramanica of the Times, he opens up about not submitting the releases for Grammy consideration. "It just doesn't seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down," he said, before adding, "I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated. I'd rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience."

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Ocean's dual release not only received critical acclaim, they were also controversial in that the drops led to the singer ditching his record label of almost seven years. In the weeks following the release of Blonde and Endless, it was revealed that singer was no longer signed to Def Jam, having fulfilled potential contractual obligations with the visual album Endless. While Def Jam distributed Endless, Ocean had complete control of Blonde, which released under his own Boys Don't Cry imprint.

"It started to weigh on me that I was responsible for the moves that had made me successful, but I wasn’t reaping the lion’s share of the profits, and that was problematic for me," he explained. "With [Blonde] in particular, I wanted to feel like I won before the record came out, and I did, and so it took a lot pressure off of me about how the record even would perform after the fact. Once the goal is met, everything else is lagniappe. It's not essential for me to have a big debut week, it's not essential for me to have big radio records."

Despite feeling like "it's not essential" to have "a big debut week," Blonde earned the year's third-biggest opening week, only trailing behind Drake's Views and Beyoncé's Lemonade.

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"Well, we doubled [2012's] Channel Orange first week," he said. "I'm always gonna be like, 'We could have done a little bit better.' I guess there’s a satisfaction that comes with looking at numbers like that, and I'm making, like, No Limit-type of equity, Master P-type of equity on my record."

As far as the gestating delay behind the releases, Ocean attributed it to writer's block, and as aforementioned, feeling a lack of control over his career. For the former, he said a friend from New Orleans helped him through with a conversation that "made me feel as though I should talk about the way I grew up more."

Ocean reveals more, including creating about "50 versions" of "White Ferrari" before getting it right for the album, in the in-depth interview, which can be read here.

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