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Frank Ocean Talks Def Jam Split, Major Labels in New Interview

Frank Ocean continued his habit of popping up in unconventional media outlets with a 4,000-plus-word interview in the new issue of Gayletter. Despite the length of the piece, much of it is devoted to topics such as his television habits, his height and other not-so-burning issues (read the full interview here), but he does delve into weightier topics.

Regarding his surprise release of two albums, “Endless” and “Blonde,” and an expansive magazine in a single week in the summer of 2016, he said, “I was trying to close out this label situation I had going on,” he said, referring to Def Jam. (The comparatively lightweight “Endless” completed his deal with Def Jam, while the much more artistically robust “Blonde” was released independently through Apple Music — which enraged Def Jam and its parent company, Universal.) “And also my Apple deal, which all eventually happened. Some of those things—particularly the Universal thing—was taking forever.” He said he was “so high-strung over the record and all the business shit around it, the magazine [Boys Don’t Cry] was a reprieve. It stopped me from feeling like my life was on pause because of those things. It made me feel like my life was very much being fully experienced.”

He also spoke about the conventional music industry at large. “F—ing with major music companies, you’re going to be… deflowered,” he said. “Anytime you get into the business side of the arts, there has to be some degree of objectification or commodification that you’re comfortable with, of yourself and of your work…. A lot of people I talk to about careers in the music industry, their ideas of success have to do with nostalgia. They have to do with tropes of success, things they’ve been shown over the years that represent what a successful career is. I think that helps you become prey, because somebody can manipulate you with those things.”

Read the full interview here.

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