The Grammys are all about spectacle, and Frank Ocean is not — at least not the same kind of spectacle. Ocean — who lives up to his name by being huge, pacific and on his own time — won’t be at the famous music awards ceremony in 2017. Despite dropping two major releases, Blonde and Endless, in 2016 after four years of making fans wait, Ocean is evidently in no hurry to rejoin the ruckus caused by his debut. (His 2012 debut album Channel Orange was nominated for six Grammy Awards.)
[LEFT: Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange was a debut smash — a real artist on the scene]
Yet no amount of calling Blonde a masterpiece (“this album cleared my skin, gave me a 6.5 GPA, made me lose weight, become a super model, fly to space, interact w aliens, bring back my ancestors”) will win it any trophies at the Grammys. That’s because Blonde, like Endless, didn’t get Grammy nominations. How could that happen? Because Ocean — embodying his role as an iconoclast — didn’t submit the new albums for consideration by the Grammys. And you have to submit to get a nod. Ocean seems to be one of the few artists working with the temperament and confidence to flout the commercial conventions of the industry’s most valuable award. Ocean’s comments on the Grammys in an interview last fall indicate that he’s, you know, just not that into them. “That institution certainly has nostalgic importance. It just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down,” Ocean said. The Grammys don’t represent Frank Ocean, so he won’t represent the Grammys. That’s the Ocean equation.