Turns out if you want to follow Frank Ocean’s latest album release cycle all you have to do is be an insomniac. No, seriously–last night he resumed his livestream of what we thought was Boys Don’t Cry and then dropped the “visual album” Endless both via Apple Music. Now, tonight/early Saturday morning circa 3 AM he dropped another new video.
This one is called “Nikes” and kicks off with a chopped and screwed voice, presumably Frank’s, repeating the mantra we’ve already heard: “I got two versions.” And it looks like maybe that late night street racing session was part of the shoot for this video? There’s also plenty of naked bodies (mostly women), including some angel pole dancers. But it’s not all sex and glitter either–at one point Ocean sets himself on fire.
It also veers into emotional territory when A$AP Rocky holds up a picture of A$AP Yams and Ocean holds up one of Trayvon Martin. The first half of the song is mostly spoke-sung in that downward pitch-shifted tone, but toward the end Ocean starts singing in an AutoTuned croon.
A key final line that struck me squarely in the center of my heart tonight: “I’m not him / But I’ll mean something to you.” Even if the late night timing stuff has gotten seriously irritating in this blogger’s estimation, Ocean still weaves together the personal and the political with impeccable grace. Also, the video is actually available for people who don’t subscribe to Apple Music, so you can watch it below.