The anticipated outrageous and unpredictable moments of the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards are upon us, folks. This year viewers can expect one thing for sure: to laugh until their stomach hurts with funny man Kevin Hart as host. But what is the VMAs without its all-star lineup of performers? Most recently added to the roster is talented newcomer Frank Ocean. Imagine him singing “Pyramids” with the visual stage set-up to accompany the song. This could mean actual faux pyramids, stripper poles, a stripper–oh my, the possibilities! Read more…
“This next song I am going to play I guess is pretty important to me because of some of the things I’ve said in the past month. Just kind of taking some freedom for my self, you know?” announced Frank Ocean at his Lollapalooza set this weekend, to a crowd soggy from the rain but in high-spirits nonetheless. And, mostly still at the front of the stage, wearing what seems to be his Channel Orange uniform — a crimson cardigan and a red, white and blue handkerchief around his forehead — he performed “Bad Religion,” a harrowing love song that has also come to mark his coming-out. The rain delay had pushed Ocean’s set back in the night, meaning he would have to compete with headlining sets from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Avicii sets. The promise of such intimacy and emotion were enough, though, to draw an audience. “I am grateful for that love,” he said, and the crowd roared.
Frank Ocean “Bad Religion” At Lollapalooza [RapRadar]
Lollapalooza Day One Recap: Raging Teens, Raging Heat And The Glorious Black Keys
Lollapalooza Evacuated: Lightning, Torrential Rain, Pouting Ensues
Lollapalooza Day Two Recap: Chicago Showers Bring Mud Madness
Frank Ocean‘s summer in the spotlight continues today with the release of photos from a new sitting with photographer to the hip and powerful, Terry Richardson. Ocean has joined his Odd Future brethren on visits to the studio past, notably the time they shot their epic and free-whiling “Oldie” video (super cute best-friend stuff, but probably NSFW if you’re without headphones today), and more recently to shoot the XXL spread that resulted in these beautiful and intimate pre-Channel Orange shots of Ocean. Back in New York again last week for a coupling of Odd Future and Frank Ocean shows, the boys sure enough showed up once more at Uncle Terry’s for another raucous free-style session and shoot. Today, Richardson posted some of that day’s outtakes to his Diary. Ocean in his new favorite red, white and blue handkerchief, a shirtless Tyler making mischief, and Earl Sweatshirt back in the mix — Wolf Gang’s all there! And two things are for sure: these boys have a ton fun together, and Richardson knows how to capture it all.
Check out their freestyle below (Ocean comes in at the end, leaving us to wonder what he was up to that whole time! And again, we warn: lots of “mature” language), and browse the gallery of images below or on Terry’s Diary.
The 2012 MTV Video Music Award nominations are in, and this year and among the nominees are the usual suspects (Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Usher, Justin Bieber, Kanye West), the internet raised (Carly Rae Jepsen, Gotye, Childish Gambino, Lana Del Rey), strong women (M.I.A., Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé), fresh faces (A$AP Rocky, Frank Ocean) and boy bands (One Direction, The Wanted). And all are led by Drake and Rihanna, with five nods a piece, who picked up four for their “Take Care” video (Video of the Year, Best Male Video, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography) and who will face off for Video of the Year (Drake’s “Take Care” versus Rihanna’s “We Found Love”). Quite the crew, don’t you think?
The show will live on September 6th at 8 p.m. EST from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and it will feature performances from Alicia Keys and One Direction, assuring that viewers will be the real winners that night.
See all the nominees in all the categories below:
It’s a good thing we’re not Nas. With all the good news he’s had recently, we’re not so sure we could resist the temptation of celebratory cocktails every night. After the highly anticipated Life Is Good lived up to the hype, the numbers are in. Nasir Jones’ 10th album topped the Billboard 200 at No. 1 making this his fifth number one. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Life Is Good sold 149,000 in its first week, which is more than pop stars Usher (128,000) and Chris Brown (134,000) debuted. Don’t call it a comeback; because if you’ve paid attention, the Queens legend never really left. Read more…
Six years ago Nas‘ conviction on the state of hip-hop–he believed it was dead–left several of his peers disgruntled and defensive. Ticking rap heads off aside, Hip Hop Is Dead charted at No. 1. How’s that for a non-response to the critics? On the day of his 10th album release for Life Is Good, VH1 talked with the master storyteller to find out what he thought about hip-hop today. Obviously the backlash years ago didn’t phase him because he said if he felt the genre was in trouble again, he’d say it. Again. Although he doesn’t think it’s dead right now, he thinks it has died many deaths. Read more…
With Future‘s “Same Damn Time” catchy summer track, he pretty much has anyone that’s cool writing, talking or tweeting “at the same damn time” in the context of their conversation. For example, Rihanna tweeted an Instagram photo with the caption: “Last year, same damn time!” Frank Ocean tweeted, “at the same damn time” as its own sentence. So you see where we’re going with this. It’s a catchphrase phenomenon! For the remix Future enlisted the number one badboy, Diddy himself, and Ludacris. Diddy snapped in a way we haven’t heard him spit since “All About the Benjamins.” Read more…
FRANK OCEAN SAYS HIS “STAR WAS RISING”
In a touching interview with the Guardian he explains that, “I knew that if I waited I would always have somebody that I respected be able to encourage me to wait longer, to not say it till who knows when.” [GaurdianUK]
Nasty Nas has been in the rap game nearly two decades, and with 10 studio albums his longevity is nearly unmatched amongst his hip-hop peers. To say he’s seen it all in the close to 20 years he’s been in the industry is an understatement. On the day of the release of Life Is Good we chatted with Nas about all things hip-hop. As someone who has worked with Frank Ocean on “No Such Thing as White Jesus,” meant for Nas’ current album but the recording session was lost, we asked him his feelings on hip-hop’s embrace of Ocean considering its homophobic past. And as a veteran of this rap thing, Nas wasn’t willing to hop on the “hip-hop is homophobic” ferris wheel. Read more…
On America’s Independence Day, Frank Ocean finally got free. He took to his personal Tumblr to clear up the chatter started by an UK journalist’s speculations that songs on his album referenced the pronoun “he” as it relates to love. He wrote a beautiful note, originally intended for the liner notes of his major label debut channel ORANGE, that candidly and masterfully told the story of his first love—a man—who was too afraid to love him back. The shockwaves from this announcement were immediate; thankfully, instead of enduring a tidal wave of negativity, an outpouring of support flooded onto social networks from fans and celebrities (such as Jay-Z, Beyonce, 50 Cent and Rita Ora) alike. His courageous admission was the first time a young, black male R&B singer had openly admitted to loving someone of the same sex.
Given the troubled history that hip-hop, and the community that creates it, has had with homophobia, many are asking whether or not Frank’s revelation points to the genre’s growing acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality and, ultimately, individuality.
Well, in the decades before Frank Ocean became a rising star, hip-hop prided itself on hyper-masculinity, and proving one’s manhood, which unfortunately meant disassociating yourself from anything that could be perceived as “gay.” To wit, calling a rapper “gay” was the worst insult you could hurl their way. Even as the culture-at-large became more PC, this stance did not change much in the hip-hop community; petty catchphrases like “no homo” are still used to this day as to tell the world “Hey, I’m not gay. And saying no homo puts me in the clear.” Literally countless rappers have used offensive homophobic slurs in their lyrics, hence the attention being paid to Frank Ocean’s confession.
No one could’ve predicted the massive support Frank Ocean ended up receiving from the hip-hop community. As an R&B artist (not hip-hop artist as he is oftentimes conveniently labeled), his transparency had the potential to end his budding career. Ten years ago, it almost certainly would have. Luckily for Frank, people and the genre are headed in the direction of progression. But I wouldn’t jump the gun to proclaim it’s a new day that left behind the rotten stench of homophobia in rap.
Accepting Frank is one thing. It’s quite another to talk about how homosexuality is/was/will be addressed by rappers in the future. Supporting the channel ORANGE singer does not mean that the F word —the six letter one, not the four— will not be used in rap records. It also doesn’t mean that mindsets have completely changed. If artists publicly root for Frank, but covertly wouldn’t have a close gay friend because of fear of turning gay (as if there’s a such thing), or still say no homo, or still rap lyrics laced with derogatory remarks about gay people, then is the acceptance really a facade?
Hip-hop as a genre has changed; hip-hop as a culture has changed too. In an interview with MTV.com, Juicy magazine Editor-in-Chief Paula T. Renfroe said, “Hip-hop also has grown, society as a whole has grown and that’s the beauty of hip-hop, it reflects our culture and our society.” The fact that there is room for a male singer to sing about loving another man without backlash is an example of a huge stride both genres—R&B and hip-hop—have made.
Maybe Ocean’s bravery is huge step toward the right direction, or perhaps behind closed doors (which is likely) the hip-hop community’s feelings toward the LGBTQ community doesn’t mirror the hurtful ugly slurs. Whether hip-hop is forever changed by such a historic moment is unknown. But it is worth the question: Where do we go from here?