Frank Ocean was first born on October 28, 1987, in Long Beach, California before his family relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana. Due to the influence of the jazzy scene, New Orleans is world-famous, this served as enough of an impression on Ocean to embark on the path of playing music just as much as he hears it. In addition to jazz, he was also fond of the albums produced by Anita Baker and Celine Dion. Ocean was also a fan of The Phantom of the Opera’s soundtrack, which its musical lineup served as a key influence that would dictate the musical direction the young artist was about to travel.
Surviving Hurricane Katrina
Prior to the devastation Hurricane Katrina left in her wake in 2005 throughout New Orleans and the surrounding area, Ocean had performed a number of odd jobs to set up his own recording studio so he could make a solid go of his music career. When all this was destroyed and he was forced to relocate, he eventually made his way to Los Angeles so he could focus more heavily on a career path he wanted for himself. At first, Ocean established himself through the songwriting alias of Lonny Breaux. He is credited for writing music for some of the most recognized artists such as Justin Bieber, Beyonce, and John Legend. In addition to his songwriting, Ocean had also been in the studio, recording his own material. As he earned more acclaim for his songwriting talent, plus the needed connections to finally release his own music in 2011.
The year 2012 served as Frank Ocean’s breakthrough year as his debut album, “Channel Orange,” would not just receive global acclaim, but a series of notable nominations and wins from various awards programs such as the Grammy Awards, and HMV’s Poll of Polls. In addition to his commercially successful debut as the world of music’s latest addition to its scene, Frank Ocean also has made a name for himself as one of the most influential people of his generation, at least according to Time Magazine when he was listed in their 2013 edition of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
As an elliptical singer-songwriter, Frank Ocean is best recognized for the oddities of his music style in a manner that can be described as idiosyncratic. The wide range in his vocal talent has been instrumental in what music critics comment as revitalizing the genres of funk and jazz with an infusion of R&B. So far, Frank Ocean has released two multi-certified studio albums, a video album, a mixed tape, and twenty-one singles.
Top 10 Frank Ocean Songs
#10 – Pink + White
The single, “Pink + White,” served as one of many singles coming from the 2016 album, “Blonde,” that would become a globally charted hit. It peaked as high as eleventh on the US Billboard Hot R&B Songs Chart and sixteenth on the UK Hip-Hop and R&B Songs Chart. Pink + White also became certified Gold with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Denmark’s International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Blonde, as an album, also received a number of certifications, including Platinum from the Recording Industry Association of America, and double Platinum from IFPI. With BPI, it also became certified Gold.
#9 – Ivy
The second studio album, “Blonde,” was recorded and released on August 20, 2016. The song, “Ivy,” became a worldwide hit on the charts as it peaked as high as a tenth place on the US Billboard Hot R&B Songs Chart and as high as third on New Zealand’s Heatseekers Chart. On the UK Hip-Hop and R&B Songs Chart, it reached as high as number sixteen. Between digital downloads and sales, Ivy became certified Gold with BPI, as well as IFPI.
#8 – Super Rich Kids
The debut album, “Channel Orange,” not only served as Frank Ocean’s explosive breakthrough but the single, “Super Rich Kids,” would also mark he’s not a one-hit-wonder either. The fourth hit to come from the album charted as high as twentieth on the UK Hip-Hop and R&B Songs Chart and twenty-third on the US Billboard Hot R&B Songs Chart. It also earned RIAA’s Gold Certification and BPI’s Silver Certification. This achievement played its role in helping the album become the most commercially successful Ocean has released so far as it has since received triple Platinum Certifications from Denmark’s IFPI. Channel Orange, as an album, has also been certified Platinum by the BPI and the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), as well as Gold Certification with Music Canada (MC).
#7 – Pyramids
“Pyramid” is one of four charted singles coming from the 2012 debut album, “Channel Orange.” On the music charts, it would be the second time one of Frank Ocean’s hits would find a spot on the US Billboard Hot R&B Songs, which peaked at twenty-one. On the UK Hip Hop and R&B Singles Chart, it also peaked at twenty-one. Since the song’s release, it has received enough digital downloads and sales to earn RIAA’s Gold Certification and BPI’s Silver Certification.
#6 – Chanel
The piano ballad, “Chanel,” was part of the second episode of Frank Ocean’s Apple Music radio show, “Blonded Radio,” when it was aired in March 2017. Upon its release, the single received high critical acclaim, including becoming recognized by the popular online music publication site, Pitchfork, as Best New Track. On New Zealand’s Heatseekers chart, the song peaked as high as number two while on the US Hot R&B Songs Chart at number thirteen. It also reached thirty on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart and on the US Billboard Hot 100 at seventy-two. On the UK Hip Hop and R&B Singles Chart, Chanel charted as high as sixteen. The song has also since earned RIAA’s Platinum Certification and BPI’s Gold Certification.
#5 – Novacane
When Frank Ocean officially made his first appearance on the music scene as a solo artist, it was through his first hit single, “Novacane.” This song comes from his mixed tape recording, “Nostalgia, Ultra,” which was released on February 16, 2011. The highest rank this song would peak at would be on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at seventeen. It also peaked as high as eighty-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100. While the ranking on the music charts may not seem so impressive, the amount of sales Novacane has earned has been. With enough copies of the single to be digitally downloaded and sold to become Certified Platinum with the RIAA, Certified Gold with IFPI, and Certified Silver with BPI, this song has proven to be among Frank Ocean’s best.
#4 – Thinkin’ About You
The first of four hit singles coming from the debut album, “Channel Orange,” has so far been seen as the best chart performance for Frank Ocean overall. “Thinkin’ About You” peaked in number four on the US Billboard Hot R&B Songs Chart, seventh on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart, and at number thirty-two on the US Billboard Hot 100. On the UK Hip Hop and R&B Singles Chart, the song peaked at sixteen. It also earned chart rankings elsewhere, including New Zealand at thirty, and Denmark at thirty-three. Since the song’s release in 2012, it has also achieved Platinum Certification from the RIAA and BPI, as well as Gold Certification from Music Canada and Denmark’s IFPI.
#3 – Lost
The debut album of Frank Ocean, “Channel Orange,” brought forth the most commercially successful single, “Lost.” While the American music charts didn’t recognize the hit enough for it to show up in their lists, the song did especially well overseas. In New Zealand, it peaked in fifth while on the UK Hip Hop and R&B Singles Chart it reached ninth. In sales, Lost became Certified Platinum three times with ARIA, as well as single Platinum with Denmark’s IFPI and the Recorded Music NZ of New Zealand. It also earned Gold Certification from the BPI and RIAA.
#2 – Slide (featuring Calvin Harris and Migos)
Collaborating with Calvin Harris and Migos to record and release 2017 single, “Slide,” this highly successful hit charted worldwide as it peaked as high as eighth on the Official New Zealand Music Chart, tenth on the UK Singles Chart, and twelfth on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart. It was also certified Platinum by the RIAA four times and by ARIA three times. It also earned Platinum with BPI and the Federazione Industria Musica Italia (FIMI). Gold Certification was also earned with BPI, the Belgian Entertainment Association (BEA), and France’s National Syndicate of Phonographic Publishing (SNEP).
#1 – No Church in the Wild (featuring Kanye West and Jay-Z)
In 2011, Frank Ocean teamed up with Kanye West and Jay-Z to record the performance of “No Church in the Wild,” which served as the leading track to their collaborative album, “Watch the Throne.” The song earned a number of nominations from the 2013 Black Reel Awards and the 55th edition of the Grammy Awards in 2012. As Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, No Church in the Wild received an official Grammy win. While the best rank this song received among the elite list of music charts throughout the world was tenth on the UK R&B Official Charts Company Chart, the amount of copies digitally downloaded and sold has been over three million worldwide. With the RIAA and IFPI, No Church in the Wild achieved Platinum Certification. With BPI and Italy’s FIMI, it earned Gold Certification.
Top 10 Frank Ocean Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021