Frank Ocean’s Dream-State Single “DHL”

Photo from spotify.com

“Think it’s new, it ain’t new, boy / Old files just turned two, yeah, it flew.”

Modern music is a struggle for streams, contact and immediacy. It can, at times, become more analytical than purely creative, with a number of talent agencies molding young adults into an image that they know will turn a profit and build a following.

The truly great ones, however, are given the privilege to vanish, something Frank is no stranger to. He is someone who can let his art marinate, releasing them into the world whenever he sees fit. This holds true for multiple tracks off his 2016 LP “Blonde,” one of which being a fan-favorite in “Ivy,” meticulously building and editing, waiting to feel content with the product at hand.

His latest release “DHL” first surfaced on his Instagram over a year ago, in a 10-second video Frank recorded, staying up for about an hour before promptly being deleted.

In a recent interview with Dazed, Frank touched upon his need to keep his music private after the explosion of his following, rocketing himself into one of the most listened-to artists of our generation.

I couldn’t really tell anybody anything for a couple of years. Couldn’t tell anyone at the label, obviously,” said Frank. “So, I kept it to myself and a few in my circle. I carried my hard drives around with me when I traveled because I used to not store anything online.

The song itself is a hazy, transcendent tune that came to fruition thanks to an all-star roster of producers spanning genres from EDM to R&B, allowing for a futuristic, yet eerily familiar sound. While Frank himself opts for flex-filled bars, delivered with heavyweight boxer-type swagger, wavering back and forth all over the lo-fi beat.

The artwork has fans speculating an upcoming album. On it, Frank is seen in a centered picture, mimicking a silhouette pose marked fourth in a 13-image lineup at the bottom of the cover. Many believe this to be an indication of the upcoming album’s length, as well as the slotting for “DHL” on it.

In contrary to the ever-so-clean work of “Blonde,” “DHL” comes across as a cut that would appear on his overlooked remastered 2016 LP “Endless.” An album that, perhaps as standalone singles might not appear to make the “cut,” but when fully embraced as a cohesive work, come together more fitting than one could imagine.

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