I was watching HBO’s show, Insecure, which features the channels first all black cast. The show is like the black millennials Sex and the City, which has made it interesting and provided perspective. On the Last episode of season two, Frank Ocean’s single, Biking, was played as the final events played out. It was the perfect song for the end of the season and it is also one of the best Frank Ocean songs I have heard in a long time (mind the fact that I did not listen to Blonde, his latest release). I have attached the track. Give it a listen and check out HBO Insecure while you’re at it.
*A review of Biking from Pitchfork*
“Biking” [ft. Jay Z and Tyler, the Creator]
Frank Ocean relishes his self-control. So it’s a measure of the comfort he’s feeling these days that he’s willing to relinquish it near the end of his new single “Biking.” The song premiered on Ocean’s Beats 1 show “blonded RADIO” on Friday night, following *Blonde**’*s closing track “Futura Free.” It serves as a kind of sequel to that song, with prominent characters mentioned in the lyrics of “Futura Free”—Jay Z the avatar of hip-hop wealth and Tyler, the Creator, the ultimate old friend—featured rapping on the track. Hov’s bars are relaxed and Tyler’s verse is sharp, but the song belongs to an emotionally vulnerable Frank, who’s shifted from the paranoid desperation of “Futura Free” to a fragile state of contentment. He exalts in his independence, crooning sweetly: “When’s the last time I asked for some help that I couldn’t get from nobody else.” But there’s doubt too, as when Frank scorns a wedding and wishes for a child, only to reflect, “me and my baby can’t do on our own.”
That tension, between freedom and compromise (“I’m fuckin’ with Addy/I’m watching my dose”) animates the track, which continues in Blonde’s murky sound, with simple piano lines, guitar strings, and minimalist percussion, distorted and mixed low. And while the last single he premiered on the show, “Chanel,” took its strength primarily from its hook, “Biking” glides on pure emotion, as Frank code-switches, masking his feelings in imitations of other rappers’ voices. While using his own flow to reflect his ambivalence, he borrows from Future and Young Thug to trumpet his success, draping himself in their signature styles like costumes. (As usual, he’s as capable a rapper as he is a singer.) Future’s slurred triumphalism energizes the chorus, its tight, full-bodied stanzas echoing from somewhere deep in Frank’s chest. But it’s the Thugger imitation that allows him to truly let go. He uses the song’s finale to whip downhill, croaking and yelping about the money he’s made, inhibition cast aside. You imagine him riding down a steep slope with his arms up, an ecstatic smile on his face, surrendering himself, however briefly, to the moment.