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Whilst we’re on the mixtape tip this morning, may aswell throw a couple more up, and despite the buzz we’ve had to sit on this for a while for reason I’ll go into now…
Figuratively, if OFWGKTA was a gigantic c*ck, the entire earth would be riding it like an axis right now. And maybe deservedly so, since Hip-Hop thrives on movements and head wolf Tyler has only proven with gusto why his pack are tearing strips of flesh out of their nearest cool kid competitors. Speaking as fans before the hype I’d like to think we pride ourselves on dispensing with the online arse-licking and calling sh*t for what it is at all times.
As much some have claimed it is, their prime crooner Frank Ocean’s Nostalgia/Ultra is not the second coming of the game-changing, culturally impacting mixtape-album, So Far Gone. There, I’m calling it. Now fall back.
So what’s got the hip hype mongers all riled up now? Well, seems our generation (and the one just below it) have arrived slap-bang at the mnemonic intersection desperate for new saviours of commercial R&B – as it presently lies a bloodied carcass of a genre. And we all know how ‘buzz’ on the interwebs works: outlets chuck crowns at ‘next big things’ praying their heads fit.
Being in the throws of a post-So Far Gone/emo-R&B phase, Nostalgia/Ultra serves as evidence. What it unfortunately lacks is it’s template’s sonic cohesiveness to be called a real 2011 successor and seems too much like a jumble sale of shelved session tracks.
What it does have is couple stand-out cuts (notably ‘Novocane’, ‘Lovecrimes’ and topically ‘American Wedding’) delivered by a reasonably proficient R&B singer with quirky lyrics (The Dream, anyone?)… which in my opinion doesn’t feel like it’s enough to warrant the size of the social network brouhaha. Throw some calculated eclecticism by way of Radiohead and MGMT flips, bit of retro cover-art, win over the right demographics, ta-dah, impressionable net nerds are schmoozed.
I won’t completely knock Frank, he’s young, down with a progressive crew and has time to develop a unique, iconoclastic style like fellow Odd Futurist, Mr. Creator. Unfortunately here he’s only showing hints of what should make him special instead of the whole picture.
R&B? Awaiting revival still.