One of R&B's more buzz worthy up-and-coming young guns is Frank Ocean, a member of the hip-hop collective commonly known as Odd Future. One of the reasons Frank's been able to cultivate such a strong underground following is his 2011 mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, which displays his strong knack for lyrical storytelling, particularly his metaphoric verses that can have multiple meanings. Although Frank's label, Def Jam, had originally planned on a commercial release for Nostalgia, Ultra earlier this year, those plans eventually fell by the wayside. The good news though, is that we'll soon get an all-new album of music from Mr. Ocean called Channel Orange. And the first track released from it is a perfect example of his creativity and uniqueness as an artist. The song, which clocks in at nearly 10 minutes, is called "Pyramids" and spans the centuries as it tells the story of two people: the narrator and his love, Cleopatra. But like everything Ocean writes, things aren't necessarily as they seem on the surface. Although the first half of the story apparently takes place in ancient Egypt as a cheating Cleo is condemned to death, as the second half unfolds after a musical interlude, the modern day Cleo is a prostitute and the 'pyramid' referenced could be construed as either a strip club or bed. During the song, clever wordplay keeps you thinking (i.e. cheetahs = cheaters) trying to figure out the true meaning. It's pretty apparent with this song that Frank Ocean isn't aiming for radio or video show airplay with his songs: he's aiming to create works of art. Channel Orange is due in stores July 17, 2012, but for now, "Pyramids" is available for streaming via the link below.
- "Pyramids" audio stream (via soundcloud.com)