Your chances of ever seeing Frank Ocean in public are seriously low. This man barely ever goes outside so why would anybody expect to witness the famously-reclusive recording artist at one of the most crowded arenas in the world: Madison Square Garden. If anybody else were performing that night, good ole' Frank likely would have stayed home. However, he wanted to make sure that his close friend Tyler, The Creator felt his support when he hit the stage for his sold-out show in New York City.
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That's right -- Frank Ocean was spotted at the IGOR tour last night and, as you would expect, fans were all over him. At this point, we don't quite know what's rarer: a Frank sighting or a Loch Ness Monster appearance. Regardless of the statistics, the former Odd Future crooner greeted fans as he made his way to his section at the show last night. His most loyal supporters were stunned to see him. They managed to make the experience unforgettable for Frank, absolutely mobbing him and allowing him very little room to breathe. Peep the video below; everybody goes insane when they notice who is walking in front of them.
It's always nice to see Frank Ocean out in public, living his life and showing off his smile. Hopefully, this means that new music is on the way. We seriously doubt that, though.
IDK Reveals That He Had To Remove Frank Ocean Feature From "Is He Real?"
IDK became an underground favorite in the past few years but clearly, he's readying himself for something bigger and better. The rapper released his new album, Is He Real? earlier this week which marks a new era in the rapper's career. It's his major label debut. And with a major label comes their resources. His latest project has some major names who appear across the project such as DMX, JID, Tyler, The Creator, Pusha T, James Blake, and Burna Boy, among others. Unfortunately, there was another major collab that he was ready to include on the project but clearances came in the way.
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IDK took to Twitter to reveal that there was a collaboration with Frank Ocean that he had for the project but due to clearances, he was unable to get it on the project in time. Although he considered pushing the album back, once again, to include the song, he knew that his fans have grown tired of waiting and wouldn't be happy if it got pushed back.
"I had to take Frank Ocean off of The album because I didn’t get the clearance in time," he wrote. "Frank ocean is my favorite artist of this generation and I would have pushed the album back again but I couldn’t do that to my fans. I do appreciate his team for reaching out to get it cleared."
Frank Ocean Flexes Pink Du-Rag & Grills In Outrageous IG Upload
Frank Ocean is in rare form.
Frank Ocean is an anomaly. He exists in rumors and his life is the stuff of legend. Rare is the day fans actually get a chance to hear from the revered artist, and yesterday was one of those days. It was only last November when Ocean opened the gates of his Instagram to the public. Fans flocked in and painstakingly scoured through years of posts that had only been seen by a fortunate few. He’s one of the greatest artists of our generation, and also, the man pictured below.
That’s right. The purple and pink camouflaged du-rag, grills, and matching pink shirt all belong to one of the greatest artists of our generation. Presented with no comment other than a simple “😬” emoji, Frank lets the commentators here do the talking. Tyler, the Creator writes, “that NOLA seeping out.” Sage Elsesser wrote, “maaaan why I thought you had on a velvet rag 📶.”
Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary of Frank Ocean’s magnum opus, Blonde and, in conjunction, the release of his underrated classic, Endless. Both albums are masterpieces in their own right. Make sure to check out our look back at the iconic albums that have more than defined Frank Ocean’s career.
Frank Ocean’s "Blonde" Is More Than A Career-Defining Album
That’s a pretty f*cking fast three years flew by.
Three years ago to the day, Frank Ocean released one of his most impactful bodies of work. Less than twenty-four hours before Blonde arrived on streaming platforms, fans were left watching a live stream of the reclusive artist building a staircase. Once his construction came to a close, Ocean allowed us into his creative space with the visual album Endless, which would be the final project released on his Def Jam deal. Endless is criminally underrated as a body of work and much of the reason why it doesn’t get mainstream attention is because it’s so difficult to come across. Song titles are still unclear on streaming and only a miniature percentage of folks actually want to scroll through the over one-hour-long video to find the track they want to listen to. Blonde, on the other hand, is highly-celebrated and is often viewed as Frank Ocean’s opus. Today, we recognize how incredible this album truly is.
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Without even diving into the timelessness of the actual audio being presented in Blonde, the greater context of the album’s release is worth noting. Hours before it was even a real thing, Frank had come through with Endless, effectively (and ironically) ending his tenure as a Def Jam artist. Not more than a day later, he released the real deal with Blonde, finessing the industry and cashing in on his own talent. Given Frank’s newfound independence, the majority of the album’s profits went directly to his bank account. While we would absolutely love to hear a new body of work from the former Odd Future crooner, he’s been keeping himself holed up in his home, posting sporadic shots to his obscure Instagram page from time to time. His use of social media can, oddly enough, be compared to his musical mastermind on Blonde.
Even three years after it dropped, memories are still being spawned from Frank Ocean’s beautiful Blonde. Experimental with vocal effects, depth, pitch, and much more, Frank arguably did more for himself than anybody else in 2016. This album defines who he is as an artist: an imperfect, passionate, and relatively fearless man who lives through his craft. Before Blonde, there were moments that we saw Frank for who he is, like on Channel Orange‘s nine-minute-long “Pyramids.” From Beyoncé and Yung Lean’s hidden contributions to the long-lasting effect songs like “Nights” and “White Ferrari” can instil within us, Blonde is a pure masterpiece. Three years later, it still runs as smoothly as it did when it was first released. Revisit the classic project below and stay tuned for whatever Frank has going on next.
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Chance The Rapper Reveals His Favorite Songs Ever: Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown & More
This shit my favorite song, you just don't know the words.
Perhaps prompted by The Brew Podcast's list of top 50 rappers of all time that went viral earlier this week, Chance the Rapper decided to share 37 of his favorite songs Twitter. The selection is all over the place in terms of genre and era, but most of the songs should be quite familiar to you. We got some classic oldies, like Elton John's "Your Song", Michael Jackson's "Human Nature", and Hall & Oates' "Sara Smile". Then there are some more millennial-friendly bops, like Chris Brown's "Kiss Kiss", Sean Paul's "Like Glue" and Missy Elliot's "Pass That Dutch". Chance also makes sure to shoutout some of his contemporaries like Tierra Whack, Frank Ocean and Nicki Minaj.
On Monday, the Chicago rapper confessed on Twitter that he felt people wanted him to kill himself due to all the negative feedback his recent release, The Big Day, has been receiving. Maybe this random sharing of his favorite songs is a means of indulging in the things that make him happy and spreading some joy after that dark turn his Twitter page took. Sometimes it's easier to just share a list of your favorites, rather than proclaiming a list of the greatest and potentially setting off a mass feud.
Check Chance's eclectic taste below. Would you vibe with a playlist of these songs?
Big K.R.I.T. Lays Waste To Frank Ocean’s "Novacane" Instrumental
K.R.I.T iz here with some thought-provoking bars for the LA Leakers.
Big K.R.I.T, though appreciated by his loyal followers, is seldom categorized among the top tier lyricists. Yet those familiar with the depth of his pen game have been campaigning to raise awareness for Krizzle’s lyrical bility, and rightfully so. We’ve seen him body instrumentals time and time again, most recently putting in work on Sway In The Morning and bodying “Leave Me Alone.” Today, he took some time to stop by the LA Leakers, two of the biggest bar-lovers in the industry – second only to Funkmaster Flex, though the gap may very well be shortening.
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In any case, the Leakers made sure to bless K.R.I.T. with a Frank Ocean instrumental, perhaps unconventional on paper. Yet Krizzle proceeds to lay waste to the Nostalgic, Ultra beat, turning in a solid three minutes over the atmospheric groove. Perhaps spurred on by the concept-friendly production, K.R.I.T. uses his platform to spin a tale of sorts, lamenting the current state of the game. “Too many times I’ve seen private lives mans publicized,” he raps, passion in his voice. “Trying to peep the message with emoji eyes, why the money bags go to suit and ties?”
Check out the full freestyle now, and sound off below – where do you rank K.R.I.T. in today’s lyrical hierarchy?
Analyzing The Frank Ocean Business Model
A master of artistry and marketing, we take a closer look at how Frank Ocean continues to mystify and remould the music industry.
An artist in every sense of the word, Frank Ocean- born New Orleans’ Christopher Edwin Breaux- has all but shed his earthly vessel. He exists in a space that is increasingly hard to retain in the era of instant communication. When he appears at events such as The Met Gala to shoot behind the scenes photos for Vogue or links up with Flacko at Paris Fashion Week, it instigates a commotion amid ordinarily composed music consumers. For music industry professionals, he occupies a unique space of a “sacred cow.” Failure to treat his work with the gravitas that the world demands weighs heavy on the mind. Handled with the care and respect of a priceless heirloom, it’s a uniquely enble position to be in. But rather than being some astral being that descended from the stars to etch his name in musical history, this mystique was established by more than transcendental talent alone. In reality, the evergreen career of Frank Ocean has been fortified by his business acumen and diligence in protecting his brand.
Years before he’d become a bastion of high art in hip-hop & R&B, Frank Ocean was a fledgling artist waiting for his big break. Uprooting from his native NOLA to LA in the pursuit of prosperity, what began as a brief stay gave way to finding some like-minded outliers in Tyler, The Creator and Odd Future. In conjunction with discovering a collective, Frank’s time in LA would lead to a slew of songwriting gigs that saw him write songs for artists that varied from John Legend to Brandy. After penning two tracks for her Human LP in 2008, Brandy took note of the unbridled creative energy and exhaustive attention to detail that he’s applied to all aspects of his output and public dealings ever since. “I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re special,'” she remembered. “‘Please know that you’re special.’ And he’s so meticulous and he needs everything to be on point and that’s when I knew that if he was gonna be an artist, he was gonna do it his own way. He trusted his gut, he trusted his instinct, and I’m just really proud that we are blessed by his talent.”
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A further three years on from this ringing endorsement, Ocean would stake his claim as an artist deserving of the world’s collective gaze on Nostalgia, Ultra. Split between original compositions and adaptations of tracks from Coldplay, MGMT and The Eagles, everything from the evocative songwriting to the art direction— which features his “dream car” of a 1980’s BMW E30 M3— felt like one cohesive entity. In the wake of its release, Frank Ocean went from a hyped up-and-comer to a hot commodity. Upon turning in two spellbinding performances on Watch The Throne, Frank’s in-built artistic compass ultimately led him to rebuff Kanye’s offer to help him with his debut album. “As much as I want to work with you…I kind of want to do this without you,” he stated. “I kind of want this to be done without you. I kind of want to do it on my own.” Pleasantries aside, there was no “kind of” at work. Frank had the album already conceived in his mind, and the resulting Channel Orange would act as the turning point. Bolstered by nothing other than thoughtfully-curated features from Andre 3000 and Earl Sweatshirt and sparing guitar from John Mayer, his 2012 debut saw Frank exact his unique vision. True to himself at all times, the sonically-orientated risks on the record coincided with the release of an open letter confessional that would endear him to millions the world over. “BASEDGOD WAS RIGHT”, proclaimed Frank Ocean, on Independence Day 2012. Released on a day that celebrates a nation’s emancipation from tyranny, it was a symbolic date for Frank to tell the world that he’d once been in love with a man and was openly bisexual.
Steeped in a genre that still harbors a parochial relationship with homophobia, the short-term gamble of speaking his truth panned out in ways that extend far beyond his musical wheelhouse. It inspired thousands around the world. But like that, Frank began his gradual retreat into self-imposed exile that would last for the better part of four years. Save for auspiciously popping up on tracks from like minded creatives like Kanye and Tyler, Frank bided his time as he prepared to usher in his next era. During this time, he carried his works in progress around with him rather than committing it to online permanence. As he told The New York Times, the reason for this was to retain complete and indisputable control over his legacy: “I’d rather the plane goes down in flames and the drives go down with me than somebody put out a weird posthumous release.”
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Then, as if by magic, the floodgates opened. Released as an audio-visual project through Apple Music on August 19th 2016, Endless was a conceptual piece that took us deep into the psyche of Frank Ocean. Met with bewilderment by some and rapturous praise by others, what we didn’t yet know was that it was equal parts a precursor to the main attraction and a true masterstroke of cunning, contractual intellect. Although the news was reported at the time, the rationale behind Endless’ rollout and the journey to Blonde’s release a day later seemed innocuous. However, it was the kudos he received from ASAP Rocky during an interview with Power 105’s Angie Martinez that really drilled home the level of ingeniousness at work:
“He had a deal and he didn’t put out an album in four years. And with his deal, he literally figured out how to get 20 million, make the funds apply to a whole different album, get out his deal, all in one round. Do you know how embarrassed the record industry was? That man figured out how to finesse the music industry and people don’t talk about that. It took that man two years to do that shit. Then Blonde- he already got 20-million-dollar check from Apple for that and he didn’t have to give any of it back to his label cos he already gave them Endless.”
Where others toe the line, Frank Ocean remains in a constant state of lateral thought. It’s exactly what led him to hatch this plot and deliver his masterpiece in the first place. “It started to weigh on me that I was responsible for the moves that had made me successful,” he explained to the New York Times. “But I wasn’t reaping the lion’s share of the profits, and that was problematic for me.” Now independent in every sense of the word, Frank’s resolve to carry the burden of his artistic, aesthetical and administrative affairs has paid off to the nth degree. It even made the public unveiling of his Instagram account into a newsworthy event. By granting his audience brief, incendiary bursts of content that gives them plenty to theorize on and dissect for years at a time, Frank has created a self-sustainable model from which anyone making their first tentative steps into the music industry could harvest endless wisdom.
Frank Ocean Gets Interviewed By Billy Porter, John Waters, Nile Rogers & More For "Dazed"
The singer sat down with his friends, peers, and collaborators for his latest cover feature.
Most magazines opt for a one-on-one interview when crafting features with major artists, but Frank Ocean agreed to be questioned by a panel. Thankfully, those pelting him with questions were friends, collaborators, peers, and fans of his, including names like musician Nile Rodgers, performance artist Arca, legendary filmmaker John Waters, singer Rosalía, transgender rights activist and author Janet Mock, and Pose star Billy Porter. It all took place for Dazed magazine’s summer Futuretopias issue where discussions of what’s to come in the digital, musical, and overall artistic arena were the focus.
Here are a few highlights from Frank Ocean’s interview:
Billy Porter: “How are you navigating being queer in the music business? Do you feel marginalized? If so, why do you think this is the case?”
Frank: “I navigate it pretty smooth so far. If anything my personal life needs the GPS sometimes.”
Rosalia: “Do you feel that you belong to this world and time?”
Frank: “Yes, very much so. But I also sense I could have just as easily happened to be at any point in history.”
Nile Rodgers: “When is Channel Orange coming out on vinyl?”
Ocean hasn’t released anything since his 2016 sophomore studio album Blonde, the follow-up to his breakout hit Channel Orange. Fans have been impatiently awaiting new music from this talented, yet elusive musician who manages to fly under the radar and retain his privacy in our social media-driven culture. Are you ready for the next Frank Ocean record?
LGBTQ+ Artists Are Changing Hip-Hop: Frank Ocean, Young M.A, & More
From Frank Ocean to Taylor Bennett, Young M.A and Quay Dash, LGBTQ+ artists are making a difference.
The LGBTQ+ community has a history of being poorly represented in mainstream hip-hop but, alas, things are changing. There are so many artists that are making it their personal goal to create change in the world, to make things easier for the generations that are to come.
When it comes to LGBTQ+ representation in the hip-hop community, there still isn’t a large number of artists that publicly identify as gay, lesbian, trans, or anything other than cis and heterosexual. A large portion of rap listeners, and the artists themselves, have been raised to be “alpha,” and often, if sexuality strays away from the preconceived notion of what is “normal,” it’s seen as a weakness. If a rapper comes out as gay, bisexual, pansexual, lesbian, or anything other than heterosexual, they may find themselves boxed in, in a way they did not intend for. These artists are seen as people who will exclusively discuss the rights of LGBTQ+ folks in their music but that assumption is simply not true.
Just like a street rapper will move away from the most menacing topics sometimes, and just like a lyrical rapper like J. Cole will mess around with the effects of auto-tune from time to time, rappers that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community explore a range of themes in their music. We’ve compiled a list of LGBTQ+ talent that is essentially shaping the way we look at hip-hop today and building a better tomorrow for the next batch of talented, young up-and-comers.
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Kevin Abstract & Brockhampton
America’s self-proclaimed favorite boyband is a collective of artists that call themselves Brockhampton. The group is queer-inclusive and led by Kevin Abstract, an openly gay rapper. Abstract has been hammering away at glass ceilings for a minute and as a black man who also identifies as gay, he’s had to deal with double the obstacles along the way. He and several others in Brockhampton are some of the first people that come to mind when you think of LGBTQ+ representation in hip-hop. Not every member of the group identifies as queer, and it certainly isn’t a must to be initiated into the band, but they do not hold people back because of who they fall in love with.
Complex might have said it best when they wrote that Brockhampton incites moshpits through their raps about being gay. In their group efforts and through Kevin Abstract’s recent work on ARIZONA BABY, their ties to the LGBTQ+ community are pretty obvious. They are proud to be who they are and they won’t filter themselves, or their sexual preferences, for anybody.
One of the qualities we love the most about Young M.A is her brash confidence. The openly lesbian rapper doesn’t feel a need to explain herself to anybody. She refuses to label herself and it’s that kind of attitude that has helped her create a career outside of the LGBTQ+ niche. With hits like “PettyWap” and “OOOUUU,” M.A has been extremely successful thus far in her career. During an interview with The Guardian, the rapper said that she prefers to speak about her sexuality in her music but even still, nothing is forced. “I talk about a girl giving me head, I talk about giving her head,” she said. “But I don’t say ‘I’m gay, I’m gay, I’m gay!’ I don’t like doing that. I don’t like to put labels on myself, even though I was the first [lesbian] to do it.”
Young M.A recognizes that she’s not the first lesbian woman to spit bars, showing love to the people who came before her, but she’s damn proud about being the first to go triple platinum.
Two years ago, iLoveMakonnen felt comfortable enough to tell his truth to the world. After the success of his “Tuesday” record, Makonnen revealed that he had been hiding a secret from his fans. “As a fashion icon, I can’t tell u about everybody else’s closet, I can only tell u about mine, and it’s time I’ve come out,” said the singer in a series of tweets in January 2017.
The eccentric artist made the decision to come out even though he knew it could possibly affect the way people viewed him. Since breaking his truth to the world, Makonnen has spoken about the strained relationship between hip-hop and LGBTQ+ issues, noting that they’re far more connected than people like to let off. “It’s like, it’s gonna come to a head eventually, gay and hip-hop,” said the rapper. “Because they’re two worlds that try to act like they don’t fuck with each other, but they do, very hard. You can listen to any rapper and they’ll tell you about a gay designer, more than their female counterparts. Sooner or later, people are gonna have to be like, ‘okay, what is it?’ Because I keep hearing about all the gay designers, seeing you guys in all the gay designer clothes. You guys all come from Atlanta, the known black gay capital of the world. So it’s like, when are we gonna have this conversation? You’re so anti-gay, but you support gay brands? You can’t support a gay man, you can support a gay brand?”
The First Lady of Lil Yachty‘s Sailing Team is also making big waves as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The Atlanta rapper has been in a very public relationship with Skye Morales but she’s also admitted that as she’s grown up, she’s realized her sexuality is pretty fluid. In a cover story for Red Bull, Kodie likened her own feelings to somebody like Kehlani. “Y’all saw Kehlani just came out, saying she not gay or bi, she’s queer? I don’t know, but me too!” said Kodie Shane. “It’s handsome guys out there, I’m not gonna lie. You might see a guy, like, man, you’re a handsome-looking guy. But ew.”
The Young HeartThrob allows her sexuality to come through in her music, using female pronouns when describing her lovers. Other artists, like 070 Shake, do the same thing but have been less direct about how they identify.
Chicago rapper Taylor Bennett proudly came out as bisexual in January 2017. Chance The Rapper‘s brother made a promise to himself that he would be more open — both with his fans and with his own emotions. The album BE YOURSELF marked the first time Taylor ever wrote about his sexuality, finally feeling safe enough in his own body to let others in. The project is all about staying true to oneself and the most potent example of Taylor embracing his sexuality comes in the title track to the album. “I’m an outstanding Afro-American bisexual havin’ shit,” he raps on “Be Yourself.”
Bennett is still working through self-acceptance, voicing everything out on his latest project THE AMERICAN REJECT.
A feminist rapper from New York City, Princess Nokia burst onto the scene with a lot of ambition, drive and personality. She identifies as a lot of things: Puerto Rican, Native American, African, and more. Her sexuality doesn’t come up often but she has previously noted that she is fluid. Modelling her career on people like Missy Elliott and Erykah Badu, Nokia leaves a lot to the imagination. She doesn’t want to give everything away at face value. There is a lot to unpack with this rising artist but if there’s one thing we can be sure about, it’s that she loves herself. Much of her music touches on self-love and how she’s learned to accept herself… “little titties,” “fat belly” and all.
Perhaps the most popular LGBTQ+ musical artist in the world, Frank Ocean turned heads when he came out as bisexual. The artist came out by telling his fans a story of love, saying, “4 summer ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost… Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping.”
Frank has said that he used to scream at the sky in search of answers. Eventually, he came to terms with his sexuality though, thanking his first love and saying, “I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alright. I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore.”
The topic of bisexuality and sexuality, in general, comes up often in Ocean’s music. Songs like “Chanel,” “Forrest Gump,” and others deal with the theme very well.
There aren’t many transgender rappers that have been accepted in the industry with open arms but Quay Dash is working to become one of the first. The 26-year-old Bronx native is one person that you’ll be seeing a lot of if you’re researching trans rappers. The emcee comes through with powerful bars about her identity and gender, emotionally telling her tale on Transphobic.
Hitting her stride on SoundCloud, Quay Dash speaks freely about being herself in her music, noting that LGBTQ+ issues are not exclusively what she discusses. “I think talking about transgender issues is important,” she explained to Dazed Digital. “But at the same time, I’m here to make my music and do what I have to do.”
Tyler, The Creator’s "IGOR" Has Fans Speculating About Features
People are having a hard time figuring out who’s really featured on the record.
Early Friday morning, Tyler, The Creatordropped off his latest album IGOR, a project that is unlike any other that he’s released to date. The R&B, jazz, funk, and gospel influences can be heard throughout, and even Tyler himself warned fans not to listen to IGOR with preconceived notions. “Igor. This is not Bastard. This is not Goblin. This is not Wolf. This is not Cherry Bomb. This is not Flower Boy. This is Igor. Pronounced EEE-GORE,” he wrote on an image uploaded to Instagram.
“Don’t go into this expecting a rap album,” Tyler continued. “Don’t go into this expecting any album. Just go. Jump into it. I believe the first listen works best all the way through, no skips. Front to back. No distractions either. No checking your phone no watching tv no holding convo, full attn towards the sounds where you can form your own opinion and feelings towards the album.”
The album is a feature-heavy project that boasts big-time music industry names, but in the near 24 hours since the record dropped, IGOR has been at the center of a mystery. On streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, or Tidal, IGOR‘s tracklist doesn’t overtly show who’s featured on the album. However, if you take a look on Genius’ lyrics pages for each one of the tracks, contributors to each song are listed. However, Tidal’s credits for each song doesn’t exactly align with Genius’ listings.
So the question remains: who’s really featured on this record? According to Genius, this is the tracklisting and additional vocals:
1. IGOR’S THEME ft. Lil Uzi Vert & Kali Uchis
2. EARFQUAKE ft. Charlie Wilson, Devonté Hynes, & Playboi Carti
3. I THINK ft. Solange & Kali Uchis
4. EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING ft. Jerrod Charmichael
5. RUNNING OUT OF TIME ft. Frank Ocean
6. NEW MAGIC WAND ft. ScHoolboy Q, Jerrod Carmichael, A$AP Rocky & Santigold
7. A BOY IS A GUN
8. PUPPET ft. Kanye West
9. WHAT’S GOOD
10. GONE, GONE / THANK YOU ft. Mild High Club & King Krule
11. I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE ft. Solange
12. ARE WE STILL FRIENDS ft. Pharrell Williams
N.E.R.D. legend Pharrell Williams shared the IGOR cover art on Instagram as he hyped the album, and Tyler commented, “WOW DAD AND THANKS FOR YOU CONTRIBUTIONS TO IT.” For now, we’re going to go with what we know as fans continue to speculate about who’s who on IGOR.