Written by Jourdan-Reiss Russell
Praise the sun, Frank Ocean’s on a creative streak. I guess after the monumental release of Blonde and Endless, he’s resolved to keep the attention of the music world for as long as he can. Recently, he started a Beats 1 radio show and has not only used it to connect with artists and fans, but as a way to showcase new music. On Blonded, Frank debuted the Calvin Harris-produced Slide as well as Chanel, a minimal electronic ballad which combined Frank’s piercing falsetto with insightfully dark lyricism. Now we have a new song hot on its heels, but this one isn’t a solo act.
Biking seems like a reconciliation of Frank’s journey to now. Jay, Frank and Tyler have never shared a track before, and the significance of the two features on his career can’t be overstated. Jay Z introduced Frank to the mainstream on Watch The Throne, and Frank was one of the founding members of Tyler’s Odd Future collective, where they became like brothers as they took the world by storm.
The track opens with rap’s biggest mogul, Jay Z, cooly spitting an 8 – bar verse over a spare set of piano chords. It’s an interesting contradiction; popular music’s biggest id rapping enthusiastically over the smallest, quietest part of the track, but the result feels more natural than most of Jay’s recent verses, giving an extra dimension to his Magna Carta flow. After, the song immediately changes into a more full-bodied guitar ballad, Odd Future style, as Frank’s falsetto weaves through the busier instrumental, touching on religious themes, parental desires and drug abuse. Last but not least, Tyler, The Creator rounds off with a short but lyrical verse laden with half-rhymes and slick allusions – both Tyler and Jay link wheelies to Big Willie Style – which punch hard as the tracks drops a gear to let the bars breathe.
Biking is another addition to Frank’s list of killer 2017 singles; it’s nostalgic, complex and most of all, carefree. If Blonded is the way he decides to release music this year, let’s hope the next announcement is an album.
Biking isn’t currently available for download or streaming but you can still listen to the song on Frank’s radio show where it’s debuted at the end of the third episode.
Credit: Beats 1