Known for making big announcements via his Tumblr page, Frank Ocean has shocked the world with a graphic, indicating that his highly-anticipated new album, Boys Don't Cry, is less than a month away. Reason enough for the internet to go nuts and draw its own conclusions regarding the LP's exact arrival time. Since previous release dates turned into false promises, numerous social media accounts reacted with disbelief instead of joy. Rightfully so. To a certain extent. Then again, if you think about it, Frank's most recent update might as well be the real deal. The information could be accurate, and within less than one month's time, we will indulge in Ocean's new masterpiece. Yes, expectations are high for this one. Accordingly, Def Jam has already made a huge investment into this project, spending more than a $1 million and as much as $2 million, according to industry insiders. We've gathered all essential information available to the public to take a closer look at how one of this year's most anticipated music releases has come together.
August 2013: A week before the release of his solo album, Doris, Earl Sweatshirt removes his Frank Ocean-assisted "Sunday" track from the album. Odd Future as a collective is still intact at this point.
March 2014: Nabil Elderkin, who directed "Pyramids," "Novacane" and "Swim Good," uploads an Instagram photo of Frank brooding in the recording studio. Shortly after, Frank releases his Converse collaboration "Hero."
April 2014: Frank takes to Tumblr to reveal that his album is almost done:
"I’M OPENING UP FOR OUTKAST THIS SUMMER AT PEMBERTON SO I MIGHT SKIP ON COACHELLA TO STAY IN THE GROOVE AND FINISH THIS BITCH… I FEEL LIKE THEY’RE FINNA WILD OUT THO. FUCK IT.. BRING THE HELICOPTER OUT."
June 2014: Frank Ocean parts ways with management, Christian and Kelly Clancy of 4 Strikes Management. He also leaves his publicist Heathcliff Berru of Life or Death PR, which claims they are “relieved” not to have Ocean on their roster. He is now repped by ID PR, which specializes in film and TV and reps Ben Stiller and Serena Williams.
September 2014: Frank signs to new management with Three Six Zero, which counts Calvin Harris and Deadmau5 as clients.
November 2014: Frank posts "Memrise" teaser snippet on his Tumblr page. He also shares the song's lyrics.
December 2014: An image of Frank and Lil B shows up. The Based One is hinting at "new music" from the unlikely pair.
April 2015: The singer announces his second studio album, titled Boys Don't Cry. He uploads a photo of himself gazing at two stacks of magazines with the same title, suggesting the publication was ready for retail. Billboard then confirms that a new album and zine would arrive in July.
May 2015: French pianist-composer Chassol, who've linked up with Frank for the album, speaks on his experience with the enigmatic artist.
May 2015: Tyler, the Creator tweets about the end of Odd Future, "Although its no more, those 7 letters are forever."
July 2015: Surprise. Boys Don't Cry album was not released.
August 2015: During his site's redesign, it appears that Frank may have accidentally leaked a few images of the merch for the upcoming album hidden in the source code.
December 2015: A file, titled "frank o0000oocean," appears on Reddit. One redditor claims this file would contain "Hudson Mohawke's instrumental demos for Frank Ocean."
January 2016: News of a Frank Ocean collaboration with Cali rapper Rich The Kid arrive.
February 2016: We learn that Frank will appear on Kanye West's The Life Of Pablo, along with Young Thug.
February 2016: Low-quality snippets of unheard Frank Ocean music emerge.
March 2016: Frank Ocean's close collaborator producer Malay reveals a little more information regarding Frank's highly-anticipated next album. He hints at an "exploration of different vibes."
2016: James Blake states he has heard Frank's new album, claims it's better than its predecessor, channel. ORANGE.
June 2016: False alarm. News on the alleged release of the album irritates the internet. As expected, the news turn out to be fake.
June 2016: Friend and collaborator Lil B shares that he has found the enigmatic artist. Yes, this is awesome to us. And yes, we genuinely do hope that this news is somehow connected to a Boys Don't Cry cut.
June 2016: Frank pens an emotional letter on the massacre at Pulse’s Orlando nightclub on June 12.
July 2016: A graphic posted on his Tumblr page indicates that the album will release in July 2016.
Not a lot is known. Frank Ocean stated that the album would be inspired by the Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, and the Beatles. Collaborator and producer Malay shared with Pitchfork, “I feel like he’s working harder than he’s ever worked in his life. I’m excited for everyone to hear it. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised, for sure." He also revealed that Frank's been exploring with different vibes for his next opus. As much as we appreciate any tiny (and vague) piece of information on the project, we need to keep a closer ear to the music that has emerged since channel.ORANGE in order to get a rough idea of the LP's sonic direction.
Arguably the most-known tune that has come from Frank since his debut album. The snippet hardly feels like the final product, but it suggests the R&B crooner could be experimenting with a more atmospheric, Toro Y Moi-inspired aesthetic. This is definitely a new Frank Ocean we're experiencing here.
"At Your Best (Aaliyah Cover)"
Frank Ocean honors the late and great Aaliyah with a cover of her track “At Your Best,” on what would have been her 36th birthday. His rendition does both Aaliyah’s “At Your Best” and the Isley Brothers‘ original more than justice thanks to his moving vocals.
Debuted at his London concert, the soulful jam offers romantic and melancholic feels that have been prevalent in Frank's music so far. It offers a slow build of some soulful horn, keys, arrangement atmospherics while Frank's vocal delivery is coming over a solitary strummed guitar.
"Hero" featuring Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, & Diplo
This song is a perfect indicator of Frank's versatility and ability to creatively collaborate with artists from different ends of the spectrum. Which leads us to our next point.
This is a list of potential artist names that could appear in the final album credits -- whether as a featured guest or producer.
Danger Mouse: In his conversation with BBC Radio 1, Frank revealed that he's booked studio time with the New York-based producer.
Earl Sweatshirt: Yes.
IAMSU!: The Bay area native took to Twitter to thank Frank for letting him be "apart of history."
Jay Z: Following their 2011 Watch the Throne collaboration, "No Church in the Wild," Ocean repeated the favor on "Oceans," which appears on Jay's 2013 Magna Carta Holy Grail album. A third collaboration is not unlikely.
Kanye West: Similar to "Oceans," "Wolves" features Frank's contribution on The Life of Pablo. We wouldn't be too surprised to find Kanye somewhere in the Boys Don't Cry credits.
King Krule: In his conversation with BBC Radio 1, Frank also revealed that he's been working with the British singer-songwriter.
Lil B: If we were to believe his Twitter account, Lil B was the artist that spent the most time with Frank in the past couple years. In 2014, the two were photographed in the studio together and its caption read "NEW MUSIC COMING SOON!"
Martin Gore: The Depeche Mode guitarist spent some time with Frank in the studio back in 2013. Quite possible that some material from these sessions will end up in the final cut of the album.
Pharrell: The uber producer, who worked on channel.Orange, was in the studio with Frank in 2013.
Tame Impala: Frank is a fan of the Australian psychedelic rock artist. We'd love to see something creative happen between these two artists.
Tyler, the Creator: Their mutual history has been well-documented. A collaboration between these two can pop up anytime, anywhere.
Other names for potential collaborators include Charlie Gambetta, Hit-Boy, Rodney Jerkins, Kevin Ristro, and Happy Perez who worked with Ocean on 2011's Nostalgia, Ultra.
July 2016. 28 days left to prove that the latest update is the real deal.
No information has been released so far. Our guess is as good as yours.