Back in March of 2017, Frank Ocean shocked fans when he premiered his Apple Music exclusive radio show blonded Radio. The series kicked off in a big way as Frank Ocean shared new music for the first time since the release of Blonde during the second episode of the radio show.
Frank Ocean released “Chanel” — the stand-alone single which saw him singing and rapping. Met with much approval, the song saw success due to the accessibility in sound which would become much more apparent in releases that followed such as “Biking” and his guest verse on A$AP Mob’s hit “RAF”.
Three years later, the song has become Frank’s second most streamed song (behind “Thinkin Bout You”). With over 300 million streams, he managed to create a hit layered upon a shuffling production and lyrics that require a listener to actively dissect the true meaning.
"I see both sides like Chanel”, the double entendre, explores the identity of Frank Ocean through the lens of his self realization.
Whether it be sexual fluidity (“my guy pretty like a girl”), he embraces the two-sided rear view of his identity. Frank also touches on his god like level persona (“how you looking up to me and talking down? can’t you see I am the big man? god level I am the I am”). Within the four-year gap between his two studio albums, Frank has solidified a presence that seemed to be ultra-elusive. After the release of Blonde, he sort of has done what he want, on his own terms, something other artists don’t have the freedom of achieving.
But with such a presence, comes the battle with something greater than itself... His torturous relationship with fame is highlighted on “Chane” as he sings (“this is a cult, not a clique on the net”). Frank is embracing the experiences that are specific to him, and realizing a shift with how fans view him and his art.
Releasing the song nearly 6 months after his sophomore album Blonde, "Chanel" shares the complexities of ‘Blonde’, but layered with more accessibility. Behind the shuffling production, Frank voice commands the presence with a sick flow that rivals most rappers with lyrics that are just as carefree as they are thought provoking.
"Chanel" is a celebratory acknowledgment of a newfound independence.