Friday 9 December 2011

Frank Ocean - Novocane

On December 5th the BBC announced the nominees for the BBC Sound of 2012, with the final shortlisted five being announced in early January.  The Gizzle will be reviewing each of the fifteen longlisted nominees leading up to the final announcement.

You may recognise this guy's name from his collaborative work on Kanye and Jay-Z's 'Watch The Throne', specifically on No Church In The Wild and Made In AmericaIn fact, Novocane has a similarly dark and gritty production to No Church In The Wild - it's unclear who influenced who in this respect but as all three artists are signed to Def Jam and wrote these songs around early summer 2011, there's clearly been some crossover.  Further collaborations include writing Beyonce's I Miss You from recent album '4' - in retrospect indicative of Ocean's style.

Now, Ocean (real name Christopher Francis Ocean) is set for big things next year in his own right, with Novocane as the debut single.  On it, he sings of a "model broad with the Hollywood smile / Stripper booty and rack like wow", who yearns to be a dentist (hence the title) and sends our protagonist high - "But there's no drug around quite like what I found in you".  Just imagine if he and Usher discovered a girl with a "booty like wow oh wow" AND a "rack like wow".  Mind officially blown. 

Still, the lyrics are hardly the "visionary shit" Ocean would have you believe.  Instead, the highlight is the production - twilit synths, subtle vocoder and vocal harmonies, sexy basslines and the obligatory throbbing sub-bass.  It may not be the most inventive track ever, but it's a style that is at the forefront of popular music.  I suspect we'll be seeing far more of Ocean in the very near future.


Listen: Novocane is available on iTunes now, with his debut album TBA 2012.