Frank Ocean’s Debut Album Due On Def Jam This Spring

By Tamara Palmer

Frank Ocean
had an amazing run in 2011, a year that included writing for Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Kanye West as well as dropping his own cult classic project Nostalgia, Ultra. Still, all signs point to 2012 being an even bigger and better year for the gentlest and most melodic member of the raucous crew, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them, who will release his official debut album via Def Jam this spring.

This will technically be the first commercially released album for Ocean, since he dropped Nostalgia, Ultra for free through his Tumblr account last year. He did this as a reaction to what he thought was inaction from Def Jam at the time. “[It felt like Def Jam was] signing a kid with dreams and talent with no intention of following through,” Ocean told BBC News, which gave him second place in its annual Sound of 2012 honors. “[But now] we’re cool. There is a new album coming. I’m super proud of it.”

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(Nas on working with Frank Ocean)

“On this record, on this latest body of work I’ve been doing, I think it succinctly defines me as an artist for where I am right now, and that was the aim, just to make something that represents where you are at that time,” he told BBC News on camera. “It’s about the stories. If I write 14 stories that I love, then the next step is to get the environment of music around it to best envelop the story and all kinds of sonic goodness.”

While the release date and track listing has yet to be announced, Pharrell Williams told Vibe last fall that he worked with Ocean on the album. “He’s like the black James Taylor,” Williams said. “He’s lyrical, he’s got a great perspective and super sick melodies. I haven’t seen anybody bob and weave through chords with such catchy melodies in a long time. That’s why I liked working with him.”