Can Frank Ocean still make waves? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Can Frank Ocean still make waves?

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By: ADAM HOWARD

(NBC) - R&B star Frank Ocean has social media buzzing and his fans in a frenzy over his long-awaited second studio album, and many have the sneaking suspicion he wants it that way.

It's been four long years since his critically acclaimed "Channel Orange," which found a solid audience thanks to Ocean's sophisticated lyrics, warm vocals and, to a certain extent, his mercurial persona.

Prior to that album's release, the singer, who had been making a name for himself writing for and collaborating with bigger names in pop music, generated a firestorm when he acknowledged in 2012 that the first love of his life was a man in a personal post on his Tumblr page. Although African-American artists' sexuality had been subjected to scrutiny and rumors in the past, Ocean was both vilified and validated for his candor on the topic.

But Ocean has since never confirmed whether he is gay or bisexual, leaving his followers to seek out symbolic clues in his lyrics or read into his occasional blog entries. Ocean's arrival as a cultural force seemed to coincide with a national dialogue on sexual identity and gender fluidity. And his tantalizing ability to be both public and private about his personal life, and by extension his music, had made his highly anticipated sophomore album, titled "Boys Don't Cry," even more of a happening.

This Friday, the album was supposed to come out via Apple Music, but to date it has not. The excitement among his followers is so pronounced that Snapchat has created filters for fans to comically vent their frustration.

"It feels like an event, and there are not that many artists, especially young artists, who can have those kinds of cultural events anymore," said Shawn Setaro, host of The Cipher hip-hop podcast, told NBC News on Friday. He, like many music writers, stayed up until the wee hours of the morning on Friday in the hopes of hearing Ocean's latest to no avail.

"A lot of that has to do with his songwriting, and a lot has to do with the mystique," he added. "You don't really know that much about Frank Ocean."

That quality sets the 28-year-old singer apart from much of the pop music A-list right now. Performers like Kanye West, Katy Perry, Drake, Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Future feel almost ubiquitous given their radio and mixtape output, their social media presence and/or their tabloid feuds. In the music industry today, there seems to be an emphasis on flooding the marketplace with content in the hopes of offsetting historically low album and tour ticket sales.

Read the full story on NBC News.

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