After Frank Ocean released his extremely low-key new visual album Endless, reports circulated that another album — his proper follow-up to Channel Orange, the project formerly known as Boys Don’t Cry — was coming this weekend. That second album isn’t here yet, but we got its presumptive lead single this morning, and woooooo!
“Nikes” is a shimmering, half-conscious slow glide with layers upon layers of sound and substance. Ocean lulls us into a stupor with pitched-down and pitched-up vocals and an undulating undercurrent until finally breaking out his straightforward singing voice for an exultant finale. There are tributes to A$AP Yams (who A$AP Rocky commemorates with a photo), Pimp C, and Trayvon Martin. There are many memorable lines including a Fight Club-esque series of rules (“Don’t take no photos in the party!”). There’s a tender sentimental passage at the end. And there’s also the line “I got two versions,” which first appeared on Ocean’s site when the album was announced way back in April 2015.
On first listen, this is the kind of genius we’ve been hoping for — a gorgeously complex song, and it arrives with a video just as gorgeously complex. Watch that below, and beware it’s extremely NSFW due to nudity.
UPDATE: Ocean has shared the lyrics via Tumblr…
THESE BITCHES WANT NIKES. THEY LOOKING FOR A CHECK. I TELL EM IT AIN’T LIKELY. SAID SHE NEED A RING LIKE CARMELO. MUST BE ON THAT WHITE LIKE OTHELLO. ALL YOU WANT IS NIKES. BUT THE REAL ONES. JUST LIKE YOU. JUST LIKE ME. I DON’T PLAY, I DONT MAKE TIME. BUT IF YOU NEED DICK I GOT YOU AND I YAM FROM THE LINE. POUR UP FOR A$AP. RIP PIMP C. RIP TRAYVON, THAT NIGGA LOOK JUST LIKE ME. WOOO, FUCCKKINN BUZZINNN WOOOO. THAT MY LIL COUSIN, HE GOT A LIL TRADE. HIS GIRL KEEP THE SCALES, A LIL MERMAID. WE OUT BY THE POOL SOME LIL MERMAIDS. ME AND THEM GEL, LIKE TWIGS WIT DEM BANGS. NOW THAT’S A REAL MERMAID. YOU BEEN HOLDING YOUR BREATH. WEIGHTED DOWN. PUNK MADRE, PUNK PAPA. HE DON’T CARE FOR ME, BUT HE CARES FOR ME. AND THAT’S GOOD ENOUGH. WE DON’T TALK MUCH OR NOTHING. BUT WHEN WE TALKING BOUT SOMETHING, WE HAVE GOOD DISCUSSION. I MET HIS FRIENDS LAST WEEK. FEELS LIKE THEY’RE UP TO SOMETHING. THAT’S GOOD FOR US. WE’LL LET YOU GUYS PROPHESY. WE’LL LET YOU GUYS PROPHESY. WE GON SEE THE FUTURE FIRST. WE’LL LET YOU GUYS PROPHESY. WE GON SEE THE FUTURE FIRST. LIVING SO THE LAST NIGHT, FEELS LIKE A PAST LIFE. SPEAKING OF THE DON’T KNOW WHAT GOT INTO PEOPLE, DEVIL BE POSSESSING HOMIES DEMONS TRY TO BODY JUMP. WHY YOU THINK I’M IN THIS BITCH WEARING A FUCKING YARMULKE. ACID ON ME LIKE THE RAIN. WEED CRUMBLES INTO GLITTER. RAIN. GLITTER. WE LAID OUT ON THIS WET FLOOR. AWAY TURF, NO ASTRO. MESMERIZED HOW THE STROBES GLOW, LOOK AT ALL THE PEOPLE FEET DANCE. I KNOW THAT YOUR NIGGA CAME WITCHA. BUT HE AIN’T WITCHA. WE ONLY HUMAN AND IT’S HUMID IN THESE BALMAINS. I MEAN MY BALLS STICKING TO MY JEANS. WE BREATHING PHEROMONES, AMBER ROSE. SIPPING PINK GOLD LEMONADES. FEELING. I MAY BE YOUNGER, BUT I’LL LOOK AFTER YOU. WE’RE NOT IN LOVE BUT I’LL , MAKE LOVE TO YOU. WHEN YOU’RE NOT HERE, I’LL SAVE SOME FOR YOU. I’M NOT HIM, BUT I’LL MEAN SOMETHING TO YOU. I’LL MEAN SOMETHING TO YOU.