Singer-songwriter Frank Ocean is crushing the R&B competition. Despite having no radio single, Ocean is debuting at number two on the Billboard charts.
Frank Ocean’s debut album Channel Orange is estimated to sell 130 thousand digital units. This is a feat considering he released the album as an iTunes exclusive a week before the hard copy dropped. With Frank selling the amount projected, he immediately is placed on the level of R&B’s hottest artists like Chris Brown. Chris Brown’ latest project Fortune sold135k in its first week with the help of heavy promotion and a few singles. Frank Ocean is selling the same amount digitally with no single and no promotion.
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The first week success of Frank’s album can almost be compared to Usher’s ‘Confessions’. ‘Confessions’ flew off of the shelves because most of us believed it was a true story revolving around Usher’s break up with his ex-girlfriend [Chilli]. We later found out it was Jermaine Dupri’s story, but the bottom line is that, we were connected to the album through a back story. In Frank’s case, he drew a deeper connection with his fans by providing a back story of heartbreak (or Unrequited love), a week before the album was released. Some call it a marketing gimmick, I call it genius.
Congratulations to Frank Ocean. He is making R&B a conversation again. For a long time, nobody cared about it because of the Euro-dance integration and the straight sex talk. Despite the fact Frank Ocean is doing all of that, he is not R&B Jesus. This is not me hating, this is the truth. Frank Ocean isn’t R&B Jesus because it’s going to take more than one amazing album to restore R&B to its former glory.