Remembering Frank Ocean's Forgotten VMAs Performance

In 2012 Frank Ocean conquered the music world with his remarkable debut album channel ORANGE. The breakout single “Thinkin’ Bout You” arrived at the second quarter of that year and changed the trajectory of Frank’s career. Even though he had released singles such as “Novacane” and “Swim Good” a year prior, as well as countless of writing appearances on songs by the likes of Beyoncé and Justin Bieber, “Thinkin Bout You” was the song that allowed Frank to usher in with a wider mainstream appeal. 

As the lead single to his debut album, the song captured the essence of what was to come months later on the full-length project. It was a rarity of Frank, as it was and still is, his most commercial appealing song with an immense amount of crossover potential. To this day, it remains Frank’s highest charting (solo) song on the Billboard Hot 100 as it peaked at No. 32 in 2012.

The music video, released in September and directed by High5Collective, was shot in the style of a throwback short film – in particular to highlight the glory days of MTV. That same month, Frank Ocean performed the song at the MTV Video Music Awards as he was also nominated for three videos including Best New Artist (for “Swim Good”).

On a night where Rihanna opened the show with a performance featuring A$AP Rocky and Calvin Harris, and was hosted by Kevin Hart, Frank Ocean balanced out the outrageousness with a stunning stripped-down performance of “Thinkin Bout You”. He donned his signature red-and-white bandana with a galaxy-like backdrop.

It was so good that even Lady Gaga knew he was going to steal the show:



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