The New York Times Declares Frank Ocean ‘The Self-Made Prince of Pop’

Frank Ocean

Armed with six nominations, Grammy’s golden child Frank Ocean covers this weekend’s New York Times Magazine. Proclaimed “the self-made prince of pop,” the 25-year-old singer, who typically avoids interviews (“I just don’t trust journalists”), opens up about his rocky road to success, his love of BMWs, and his freedom to do whatever he wants.

“I have no delusions about my likability, in every scenario,” Ocean told the reporter, who interviewed him at a BMW repair shop in L.A. “I know that in order to get things done the way you want them, oftentimes your position will be unpopular.”

After the success of his 2011 mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, Ocean’s camp reportedly called Island Def Jam chairman Barry Weiss to demand $1 million for his follow-up record.

“I don’t believe that I had actually heard anything at that point. But we did something atypical, that most labels I don’t think would do. We stepped up. We wrote the check. Virtually album-unheard, sight-unseen, we believed so much in this guy that we actually wrote the check,” said Weiss.

Following the Grammys, Ocean will head to Shanghai and record his next album “in remote locations for the next two years.”

He is also writing a book. “I’ve started writing the book,” he said. “You can say that. It’s fiction, and it’s about brothers. That’s all I’m going to say.”

But don’t expect to see him transitioning into acting out of fear of being blackballed. “I don’t like the idea of there being somebody who could break me,” he said. “There’s no head of a label right now who could break me.”

Ocean is up for six awards at Sunday’s 55th Annual Grammy Awards including Best New Artist, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year for channel ORANGE.

See more photos from the shoot and read the full story at NYTimes.com.

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean

Photo credit: Ryan McGinley/The New York Times



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79 Comments

  1. Ethan

    Well he can keep dreaming

    [Reply]

    Marcia Reply:

    @Ethan, You mad, bro? lol

    [Reply]

    100% Amazing Reply:

    @Marcia,

    New York Times…are the next GQ magazine…feeding Horse-sh*t to donkeys

    [Reply]

    Bee Reply:

    @Ethan, I know right

    [Reply]

  2. Mickey

    …somewhere in the world Chris Brown & Justin Bieber are having bitch fits. “Prince of Pop?!” LMAO! I love Frank.

    [Reply]

    T Reply:

    @Mickey, when they focus on being artistically viable vs Commercial successes their complaints may be valid. Chris has yet to deliver a truly great or innovative album in my opinion and its said because he has the talent. Bieber is pure product and artistically it will take him a great deal of time to reach that plateau.

    Lyrically, production wise, artistically or in terms of innovation or sonically neither Bieber or Chris are seeing Frank. Sorry. Frank I’d on his merit.

    [Reply]

    Tev Milli Reply:

    @T, Preach my good brother

    [Reply]

    100% Amazing Reply:

    @Tev Milli,

    what planet have you been on?!

    I hope Frank doesn’t believe this horsesh*t lol

    [Reply]

    Elvis Reply:

    @T, Okkkkaaayyy…Whats is it that makes franks album artistically viabe to make him a candidate for the prince of pop….I still to this day fail to understand why people are in Franks ass this much. Lets be realistic….The prince of pop as of now is Justin Bieber.

    Frank has put out a sub par album that I feel realistically is nowhere near as good as Biebers.

    [Reply]

    StarsAreBlind Reply:

    @Mickey, I’ve never even heard Frank referred to as a pop artist. New York Times is just being messy.

    [Reply]

    meme Reply:

    @StarsAreBlind, he is actually more a pop artist then R&B. I think we ppl are trying to force the R&B title on him but his style is far from R&B its more indi-pop/folk/alternative if you ask me.

    [Reply]

    rrr Reply:

    @meme, more indi/folk/alternative/soul but not pop

    [Reply]

    susan Reply:

    @Mickey, How the heck is he King of Pop, he has know platnium singles,albums. Actually if you go by who has top the POP chart, more is Usher, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, Neyo, they all have top 10 hits on the hot 100. He is all hype, because honestly I think Miguel did better than all of them in 2012. CB ruled 2011, Usher ruled 2010 R & B, Pop charts. If you are talking about Pop, Bruno Mars is killing everyone, he is putting hit after hit and selling way over platnium. Frank Ocean is overhyped.

    [Reply]

  3. Twista

    Enough already! I think Frank is an amazingly talented musician and songwriter, but this is overkill. Not at all his fault – I’m venting against the media and their ever-growing need to overhype artists within seconds of them hitting it big or debuting onto the scene.

    Frank is young and has decades of great work ahead of him – give the man time to grow, damn.

    [Reply]

    Brass_knucklez Reply:

    @Twista, I agree 100%. I think Frank is the truth but media is too quick to give someone a crown in this industry these days. Allow him to achieve greatness consecutively before giving him every damn accolade there is.

    [Reply]

    Kyle Reply:

    @Twista, Very well said. I couldn’t agree more. I feel like the media is trying to make him bigger than he really is. I understand the critical acclaim and I appreciate his artistry but they’re trying to make him out to be the best thing since sliced bread.

    [Reply]

    dash Reply:

    @brass-knucklez, arent you the same person that hype Nicki up above legends on other blog posts! Wow you speak differently on this post “allow him to achieve greatness.” Ocean is actually nominated for 5 grammys and majorly talented and ORIGINAL, but yet you say allow this TALENTED man to continue proving that he is great. oh,ok. lol

    [Reply]

  4. @princejawsh

    i thought he sings r&b music?

    [Reply]

    MC Reply:

    Definition of Pop Music : Popular Music

    [Reply]

    rrr Reply:

    @MC, u ever hear his music on the radio, cause i dont

    [Reply]

    Yasmine Reply:

    @@princejawsh, His music spreads over a wide variety of genres. I think, at one point, Frank even said he’s not an R&B artist exclusively.

    [Reply]

  5. Chazzarae

    Id figure with a hot grammy notimated album he would be droping singles/videos left and right (see Rihanna)… I know he just shot a video for “Forest Gump” but shiiittt he should be on single #5 by now he coulda dropped Forest Dump, Pink Matter, Sweet Life, Super Rich Kids, etc…a good album going to waste.

    [Reply]

    Victoria Reply:

    @Chazzarae, I agree. I love Frank, but I don’t know what he’s doing. channel ORANGE could have probably been platinum by now if he were releasing those videos. That album is definitely one of the best of 2012.

    [Reply]

    channelPink Reply:

    @Chazzarae, He’s critically acclaimed. His album is already certified Gold despite not being sold at Target. and After his Grammy wins he will sell. So he’s good. And 5 singles have already been released.

    [Reply]

  6. Morgan

    Congrartulations, Frank! He is insanely talented (as is Miguel) and I see people comparing the two all the time. I try not to make any correlations (and I prefer Frank more) and just revel in their artistry. With Frank nominated for 6 Grammys and Miguel nominated for 4 (hoping they each win at least 2), Grammy night is bound to be spectacular … especially with their performances.

    But again, this was about Frank. Sooo…yeah. Love it!

    [Reply]

  7. opd2

    This is getting ridiculous,yes he have talent but come on now,but a prince of pop he is not in my opinion,whatever i guess.

    [Reply]

  8. really

    While I am not a fan of his music, its nice to see him receive positive feedback from such a prestigious magazine.Good for him and I wish him luck on those Grammy noms. Wow did he say he will be taking 2yrs to work on his next album, interesting.

    [Reply]

  9. WayneRules2012

    Chris b will beat riri again! Can’t wait for that day

    [Reply]

    Sharlyn Reply:

    @WayneRules2012, How is that related to this article?

    [Reply]

    Prouy of Uk 2013 Reply:

    @WayneRules2012, this ain’t got nothing to do with this article you dumbie bum OOO somebody can’t wait for u to get your ass knock out of your teeth

    [Reply]

  10. Dre

    I can’t wait for two years , I need more music man ,channel orange was a classic man

    [Reply]

    MEETXR Reply:

    @Dre, same thing I was thinking man I was hoping he’d drop another album by the end of the year.

    [Reply]

  11. James227

    You call singing about another man Classic>

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    @James227, Petty fool. That’s irrelevant.

    [Reply]

  12. xedos

    Miguel will not get a cover like this unless he said he’s gay.

    [Reply]

    Ewan Reply:

    @xedos, Frank never said he was gay and as for Miguel …. does he really have to?

    [Reply]

  13. James227

    The NY Times is like the Village Voice

    [Reply]

  14. James227

    I mean NY Times Mag. is another Village Voice. If your from NY you know what I mean

    [Reply]

  15. Raj

    Congrats, homie.

    [Reply]

  16. Dee

    Overhype. He just made gold and they are giving him a crown. That is setting the bar high on his sophomore album. I heard more about the gangnam style song than his music. Just my opinion

    [Reply]

    Nathan Reply:

    @Dee, So obvious you’ve not heard channel ORANGE.

    [Reply]

  17. letmeloveu

    pop?! lmfao

    [Reply]

  18. Dave

    hype

    [Reply]

    Heather Reply:

    @Dave, That your fave will never have. Sit down.

    [Reply]

  19. Wellalright

    So overrated I mean his good but no no where near prince of pop

    [Reply]

  20. MMmHmm

    IM NOT HERE FOR NEW YORK TIMES NOW BEING STAN FOR HIM, WHERE WERE THEY WHEN HIS FIRST ALBUM WAS RELEASED? WHERE WAS EVERYBODY ELSE?

    [Reply]

  21. Isaac1818

    I think that the title is kinda premature.

    [Reply]

  22. valerie

    Great article!

    [Reply]

  23. Have A Seat

    They just doing that because he “came out”. If know knew about his sexuality NY times or any other mainstream media would not checking for him. He has alot of talent, but c’mon man. I would crown Bruno Mars over him

    [Reply]

    Mohamed Reply:

    @Have A Seat, Bruno Mars is good, but he’s no Frank Ocean. Give this man his credit without playing the sexual orientation card.

    [Reply]

    ysee Reply:

    @Mohamed, Bruno >>>>> Frank all day…Bruno has hits, sales, etc….and a Grammy….stop the madness, Bruno would sing Frank under a table….also, Bruno actually does Pop music for real…check his stats… 5 number 1 Pop Singles…BITCH!

    [Reply]

  24. Ursula

    I think they are infatuated with the fact that he is a gay, black male r&b singer, the only one to make an announcement like that thus far. To me, channel orange was a good start but really wasn’t versatile or commercial enough. They’re hyping him up for reasons other than the music which is pathetic.

    [Reply]

  25. Purple Oak Carter

    Im so tired of this sugar plum fairy.
    This nucca cant even sing!
    Hes like that one guy in the choir who THINKS he can sing but you sitting in the pew making a stank face everytime he opens his mouth.

    [Reply]

    Grant Reply:

    @Purple Oak Carter, Wack ass hell, weak as hell shade. Try again.

    [Reply]

  26. Hov

    prince of pop? he doesnt make pop music, he makes slow boring ass music, i dont even now what type of music he makes, but it sucks, and he sucks, literally, faggot

    [Reply]

  27. dazzlingera

    micheal jackson as the King of Pop would surely disagree!!!

    [Reply]

    Rachel Reply:

    @dazzlingera, Mike gave Justin Bieber and Chris Brown props and you think he’d diss someone like Frank Ocean? LMFAO.

    [Reply]

  28. Ice

    Am I the only one that cringed at “How much deeper can Frank Ocean go?”

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    @Ice, I thought the same thing! Damn poor choice of words!

    [Reply]

  29. josh

    lmao america do frank even do pop music… stop gas the negro up… thats the problem with american this country believe anything the media say…

    [Reply]

    Andrew Reply:

    @josh, Some of Frank’s music is pop. You need to listen to his music before making foolish comments.

    [Reply]

  30. josh

    must be his boyfriend over at new your time write the article

    [Reply]

    Quest Reply:

    @josh, So your dad is a journalist?

    [Reply]

    josh Reply:

    @Quest, why it offend you seems like your the one over their.

    [Reply]

  31. GSTAR

    heeeeell no!

    [Reply]

    Wayne Reply:

    @GSTAR, Aww, don’t be jealous!

    [Reply]

  32. GSTAR

    he dont even have a genre and they call him pop??? fucccccckkkk ouuuutta here!

    [Reply]

  33. OnToThe

    “How much deeper can he go?” I think that question should be directed at whoever is giving him the business in that cover photo.

    [Reply]

  34. RagerNYK

    Most of yall are too ignorant to appreciate good music. Dudes saying that he wouldn’t get this coverage if he didn’t come out, yet people were saying Pyramids was the song of the year when he released it in June. Grow up.

    [Reply]

  35. Omar

    These comments are so damn ignorant. Bunch of laptop critics with no musical talent anywhere in your bodies. Frank is winning, gay or not, so y’all continue to hate.

    [Reply]

  36. Arie

    I guess the definition of Pop has changed. I sincerely hope he can live up to the hype.

    [Reply]

  37. Prouy of Uk 2013

    When did he start doing Pop Music?

    [Reply]

  38. Elvis

    Okkkkaaayyy…Whats is it that makes franks album artistically viable to make him a candidate for the prince of pop….I still to this day fail to understand why people are in Franks ass this much. Lets be realistic….The prince of pop as of now is Justin Bieber.

    Frank has put out a sub par album that I feel realistically is nowhere near as good as Biebers.

    [Reply]

    channelPink Reply:

    @Elvis, You’re deaf.

    [Reply]

  39. HOVorJefe

    GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE.

    [Reply]

  40. BEDSTUYFLY

    PRINCE OF POP? WTF? FRANK IS A DOPE ARTIST… BUT LETS NOT GET CRAZY.

    [Reply]

  41. Monkeyman

    Over HYPE! He is talented of course but too soon to crown him.

    [Reply]

  42. ♦CorCor♦

    He doesn’t do pop music though…?
    Justin Bieber = Pop
    Chris Brown = R&B/Pop
    Frank Ocean = R&B

    [Reply]

  43. QUEEN AZEALIA BANKS IS THE GREATEST FEMALE RAPPER EVER, AND YA'LL N- WITH BAD TASTE WILL DEAL

    LMAO He ain’t no prince of pop. He looks like he’s getting some backdoor action in that cover tho. LOOOOL

    [Reply]

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