Frank Ocean rarely does interviews now, so we're left to decode cryptic messages on his Tumblr and comb through interviews with his collaborators if we want new insights into the elusive man behind the music.
Fortunately, at one point in his career, Frank did do a lot of interviews. We've already compiled all of our favorites here, but this week, a lost interview from 2011 was posted online by writer Mustafa Abubaker. Conducted shortly after the release of his Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape, the conversation gives us a fresh look at his early days with Odd Future and how he saw his career unfolding at the time.
Asked why Nostalgia, Ultra was released without much promotion ahead of time, Frank responded, "Nobody likes hype. Well, I don’t like hype. Yes, it was a conscious decision. Couple of my close friends actually thought I was out of my mind. Thought I was 'throwing it away.'"
With news circulating in 2011 that Frank had just been in the studio with Beyoncé, Abubaker asked how he managed to stay grounded. "I’m not grounded bro," Frank replied. "I’m bouncing all around this **** hahaha." Later, describing his creative process, Frank said, "Part rubix-cube, part roller-coaster, part watching paint dry."
Commenting on his role in Odd Future, Frank explained, "OF is comprised of gifted and talented American kids. We challenge each other. They challenge me for sure. Whenever you’re in a circle that’s talented throughout, it makes less room for complacency. My purpose is to contribute to that productive environment as much as I can."
Then, the conversation veered into his personal interests. Apparently, in 2011, Frank loved Harry Potter and repeatedly watched the 2006 comedy-drama film ATL. He noted, "I don’t play favorites. But I’ve seen that Chris Robinson movie ATL over 50 times though. And I’m a big Harry Potter fan. Oh and my favorite song in the world is Prince 'When You Were Mine.' I guess I do play favorites." Asked if there was anyone in the industry outside of Odd Future that he wanted to work with, Frank said, "Warren Buffett. On my portfolio or some ****." A couple questions later, considering what he'd do if he wasn't making music, Frank guessed he'd probably be making buildings.
You can read the interview in its entirety here.
Or, if you're looking for a more up-do-date Frank Ocean interview, check out his conversation with Timothée Chalamet from two weeks ago here. Unfortunately, in typical Frank fashion, he's the interviewer—not the interviewee.