watch frank ocean's tyrone lebon-directed video 'nikes'

Celebrating and questioning our brave new world, Frank just shared the powerful visuals for his first 'Blond' track, 'Nikes.'

by Tom Ivin
22 August 2016, 1:14pm

After what feels like forever, Frank Ocean finally released the first official video for the first track from long awaited album Blond this morning on his website. The song is called "Nikes" and is a warm, rattling ode to the years that have passed since the artist has been out of the spotlight. The world Frank left is very different to the one to which he returned, and he has been in part responsible for the tectonic shifts in culture during his absence. Whenever Ocean breathes, it feels fresh, and here we're offered a myriad of images celebrating and questioning our brave new world.

Directed by Tyrone Lebon — the man behind the lens behind the recent Calvin Klein commercials — "Nikes" celebrates black beauty, beauty in general, the masculine, the feminine, love, lovers, mothers, and babies. At once provocative and sensitive, the video is packed with familiar, traditional images like nude Lady Godiva atop a spectacular white horse, experimental elements like scribbled-on film prints, and an unexpected cameo from an autotuned chihuahua. We're shown dichotomies between luxury and poverty, hedonism and loneliness, rain and glitter.

Frank sits cross-legged, adorned with feline-like eye makeup in front of sports cars and cherry blossoms. He'll don a balaclava, completing a trilogy of images that throws back to his earlier videos, as if to update and remind us of his presence. It's 2016 now, and we need our hero and poet laureate of popular culture more than ever. There are higher stakes — music, news, frank ocean, boys dont cry, nikes, music news, tyrone lebonmore people are aware, more lights have been switched on after bright lives have been extinguished. There's more responsibility, more weight behind words, more names to honor.

On "Nikes" — an instant classic complete with a warm and simple melody atop hi-intensity snares — Frank's voice doles out rules and reflections in a comforting mix of lower and higher pitched vocals, like a conversation with himself to which we're lucky to be privy. We don't properly hear his voice until 30 seconds before the end, but when we do, it rushes back like that unmistakable, unwavering, infinite Ocean.

Frank Ocean
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boys dont cry
Tyrone Lebon