Why Frank Oceans’ ‘Blonde’ is a Nostalgic Fiesta that Will Never End Because “Fugee-La”
I listened to Blonde and it was everything that I didn’t expect. I know Frank Ocean is the shit because I heard that he is from reliable sources. He never moved me quite the way Kendrick Lamar has — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It takes me awhile to get with the program and this time after committing myself to a set of well-laid tracks — I am happy to report that the cloud that is hosting my awe isn’t going to burst anytime soon.
As the months escaped us and fans began to curse the moment Frank Ocean appeared on their radar — because his presence only exacerbated the weight of expectation that was borne out of the gem created for our mental abyss — I was reminded of another immaculate talent who experienced a similar trajectory — with an album that still remains the blueprint for hypnotic escapism without the ugly trippy moments that erase the best parts.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released back in the late summer of 1998. I lost my shit and believed that Apocalypse Now had been reinvented — although I wasn’t quite sure how I came to that conclusion. I just knew that running in the streets half-naked with the wind filled with streams of “Zion,” “Lost Ones,”and “Ex-Factor” was a major goal.
Before that epiphany — I had experienced a more rightful passage into the ranks of my generation that quite frankly — has played an immense role in the supply of melodious quotes that will only serve to awaken future generations who thought we were dozing while they were cooking in the incubators of their prospective carriers.
Wyclef Jean, Pras Michel and Lauryn Hill birthed the group — Fugees — which became the bible for hip-hop at a time when the genre was undergoing radical changes — that weren’t necessarily changes as such. Just a redo for the upcoming crowd who were too young to welcome the onset of the beats laid out by their forefathers and needed the reminder of how the blueprint can be reset for the funk of it.
The Score was the best thing to happen to us and well, it’s all about “Fugee-La.”
The beat, the score, the temperament, the audacity of these young minds — dousing the streets with rhymes and verses that aren’t spewed for fancy — but developed to initiate the pride of recognizing the codes of a ceaseless environment that was funneled for creativity and innovation.
You just need to be present and aware. You also need to be acutely tuned into the wealth of resources that aren’t built to eat you alive. You can survive if you are willing to perform the oracles of rawness that nobody can manufacture because the people won’t allow it.
You are the people. And you have spoken.
It happened with The Score and now it’s resurfacing with Blonde — only this time — the sense of urgency is greater and the audience is readily able to partake of the greatness a lot faster than back in the late nineties — when we we had to stand in line while writhing with anticipation.
The fact is that we have come full circle and the gap between the twenty-four-year-old and forty-four-year-old narrowed the moment tracks, like “Nikes”, “White Ferrari”,and “Self-Control” became free agents — roaming the sphere of curious cats who won’t die for their blatant pursuit of wonder and substance.
Those of us who ate the apple of brilliance long ago — survived the rapture and you will too. Hopefully twenty years from now — you will also feel the same twangs of nostalgic bereavement that will pump life into you — instead of pummeling you with longing and loss.
I know what it takes to Score a Blonde and I never thought I would say that with sincerity but trust me — it’s really that good.