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Frank Ocean: Overrated or Underrated

By Mitch Cohen

In the music industry, several artists are either overrated or underrated. Overrated artists tend to be popular, yet their music is overplayed. Then there are underrated artists. These artists release music that goes unnoticed by the general public. To me, no other artist is both overrated and underrated more than Frank Ocean.

Frank Ocean performing at Pemberton Music Festival

For those unaware, Ocean is a singer who was affiliated with rap collective “Odd Future” alongside Tyler the Creator. While I am a big fan of both Tyler and Earl’s music output, Ocean’s music has always been overrated to me. I say this because his fans always overhype his music. On the forum, a user named Tyler claimed that while Ocean is a talented musician, his music is way too overhyped. “Seriously, people hype this guy up like he’s the second coming of Christ,” said Tyler. I definitely agree with this opinion because when it comes to his singing, Ocean is incredibly talented. He has a smooth voice and knows how to tug at one's heartstrings. However, I do take issue with the type of songs that he makes, as a majority of them are sad, love ballads as opposed to anything fun. Ocean is very similar to Kid Cudi in a way, as they both make love ballads and depressing songs. The difference is that Cudi has songs like “Rockstar Knights” and “Scott Mescudi vs the World,” which are much more upbeat. Several songs by Ocean are just depressing and slow paced, which makes me want to turn them off each time I hear one. But while I think Ocean is praised way too much, I also think he isn’t praised enough.

In the music industry, artists frequently post on social media and release new music to promote their brand. Ocean is an exception to the norm as his release schedule is much more spread out. He released his first album “Channel Orange” on July 10, 2012. It was critically acclaimed, with songs such as “Crack Rock” and “Pilot Jones” being pretty enjoyable listens. With such a popular album on his hands, many thought Ocean would capitalize on the hype and drop more music. But he didn’t release his next album “Blonde” until four years later on August 20, 2016.

While it’s understandable that he wanted to take his time with his music, many fans grew impatient waiting for “Blonde'' to release. Even today, fans are still anticipating a new album from Ocean, as it has been seven years since Blonde was released to critical acclaim. As for his social media, he tends to post very rarely; his most recent post was in December 2021. A reason as to why Ocean is so quiet online is due to the struggles in his personal life. For example, he lost his younger brother in a car accident in August 2020. Since this event happened, fans were concerned about a possible retirement due to Ocean's infrequent use of Social Media. While it’s understandable that fans want new music, they also need to respect his privacy because he too is human and can release music when he wants to. Ultimately, while Ocean is talented, the pace at which he releases music makes it difficult for people to wait for his next single or album.

Overall, Frank Ocean’s music is an acquired taste for many people. People either gravitate to his music and tolerate his spread out release schedule or they claim that Ocean is way too overrated. Nevertheless, I have a lot of respect for Frank Ocean's music and I am excited to see what he does in the future.

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