Disappearing acts in music: Frank Ocean, Childish Gambino


April 20, 2016

Making music for a living would undoubtedly be stressful, and I’d be willing to bet that it has its fair share of ups and downs. As consumers, when we grow accustomed to something, we begin to expect it, and whether or not its fair to expect an artist to cater to our ever growing need for new content is up for question. However, when some of the most talented individuals in music go off the grid for an extended period of time, that’s when we begin to question what’s really going on.

Take Frank Ocean for example. The New Orleans singer, songwriter, and rapper who rose to fame alongside his counterparts in the Los Angeles collective Odd Future was one of the most promising voices in the industry. His mixtape Nostalgia/Ultra was just a small taste of the brilliance that he’d achieve on his debut album Channel Orange. However, since dropping his debut record in 2012, we’ve heard next to nothing from the young superstar. He’s been relatively silent, as a matter of fact. Aside from a few stray and sporadic tracks on his blog, and a feature or two on other artists’ songs, we’ve heard no new material—and no talk of any new material—from the New Orleans native. Four whole years completely barren of even a notion that something is in the works. We can only hope that the coveted crooner will make an appearance sometime in the near future.

A second example of a disappearing act played by a musician is that of the star of the sitcom Community and standup comedian turned actor-rapper-writer hybrid, Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino. There’s a lot to be said about Glover, and I know that I, myself, have an abundance of things to say about him. Firstly, I’d like to point out that he’s one of the most talented creatives that the entertainment industry has ever seen. Playing a role in a TV show (Community), being a hilarious and intelligent standup comedian, starring in numerous movies (eight, to be exact), while also releasing a plethora of free mixtapes along with two major albums and a screenplay to accompany his sophomore effort is quite the feat to accomplish. Not to mention, any situation that he finds himself in seems to suit him perfectly from an artistic standpoint.

At least we can rest assured that we haven’t completely lost the Donald Glover we know and love. As far as Frank Ocean goes I don’t know if I can say the same.

Listen to Frank Ocean’s album Channel Orange.

Listen to Childish Gambino’s album Because the Internet.

Watch Childish Gambino’s short film Clapping for the Wrong Reasons.

Also, check out the annotations of Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet screenplay: (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5)

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