It has taken four years, multiple false reports, and even missing fliers for Frank Ocean to finally release Endless, a visual album streaming exclusively on Apple Music. The stunning visuals are technically a precursor to Boys Don't Cry, Ocean's much-anticipated follow-up to 2012's Channel Orange.
To quench the thirst of his ever-salivating fans, the "Thinkin' Bout You" crooner released a stand-alone video for "Nikes," a complicated song with a complicated message.
The nearly five-minute video features an evolved musical and physical Ocean, who's now queering the lines between his musical and personal self. The 28-year-old singer is wearing eyeliner and glitter on his face, less than three months after his poignant response to the Orlando, FL, shooting.
"Many hate us and wish we didn’t exist," Ocean wrote in response to the massacre at Pulse nightclub, which left 50 dead.
He's truly existing on this record. There's an ode to Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old gunned down in Sanford, FL, a few months before Ocean released his debut album.
"RIP Trayvon," he sings in "Nikes." "That n----- looks just like me."
He's also speaking about how he envisions the future, or rather, saying that he will see the future first. The video seems almost apocalyptic: There's a man burning, people spinning, folks making love, Ocean driving with water pouring down his face, and lots of lots of chaos.
This could be commentary about his personal life, but seems to be more about the world at large. Between climate change, mass shootings, police violence, and Trump running for president, the world is more chaotic than its ever been. Ocean sees it all and is using his music as a salve for the open wounds.
On "Nikes," Ocean is more aware or conscious than he's ever been. If this is the Frank Ocean we've been waiting for, it seems that the four years were well worth it.