The Art of Subtle Domination: Why Frank Ocean Is Still One Of The Most Influential Hip-Hop Artists

In the day and age of numerous ‘Lil’ something rappers and Soundcloud-emerging new artists, it is hard to stay relevant, not to say, influential for more than a year. Everyone sounds the same, everyone does the same, and the quality of the music keeps decreasing.  

However, some of the artists and rappers managed to establish their names as indispensable in the music industry, just like Frank Ocean did. The fact is, Frank Ocean is nothing like your typical musician; he lives a quiet life, does few performances now and then, and comes from the shadows only when he presents new music, and even then, not entirely. Nevertheless, his music has managed to not only stay relevant but also to influence the whole genre, the future development of hip-hop and music as a whole, as well as to stay on top of the charts even years after releasing an album or a song.

photo credit Frank Ocean

So, what is Frank Ocean’s secret? How and why is he still one of the most influential names in the music and hip-hop industry? Before we look into the answers to these questions, make sure to look for help on Samples-Edusson, for some exceptional writing services.


The common themes in Frank Ocean’s discography are time and minimalism. When I say time, I mean the time he puts into creating an album. It took him four years to release Blonde after his debut album. However, both records, Blonde and Endless, had minimalism in common, as a prevailing aspect of their success. The albums, music videos, and even the promotions were wrapped in the veil of mystery, showing only bits and pieces on several platforms, like Apple Music streams, or Ocean’s own website.

Many believe that such an approach to music, not only promotion might be one of the reasons Frank Ocean is still an influential artist, and always expected to release some new work. The time he takes to create music is essential to its quality in all fairness, but the minimalism of his presentation in the public eye and media is what keeps people wanting more. In the world when everything is available and approachable, Frank Ocean seems untouchable, obscure and endlessly mysterious.

Music speaks for itself

As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, Frank Ocean promotes his music quite scarcely. The success of his albums is, therefore, purely based on the experience of the listeners, according to The Concordian. So, by not being active on social media, or doing any interviews and public performances, Ocean merely is allowing his music to speak for itself. He doesn’t share any information or additional explanations of the album or the songs that might affect the opinion or the experience of his fans and the new audience. All Ocean does is release an album. The rest depends on how the audience receives it, and it usually receives his records with open hands, and ears.


Frank Ocean is an open book when it comes to expressing his emotions and own contemplative nature. Even though he is ‘quiet,’ his music and lyrics resonate so much with his audience, probably because of his ability to be vulnerable without being weak. Blonde, for example, is deeply intimate, personal and far from being romantic, even though there is romance involved, but also strong and direct.

It seems that Frank Ocean’s vulnerability is fairly calculated and done in such a way as if we, the listeners, have an insight into his personal journal. He also seems to be straightforward and unhinged in expressing his emotions, thoughts, quiet frustrations or loud opinions. And most importantly, Ocean invites everyone to this ‘party’; not only other people, as in the listeners and global audience, but also different genres, to enjoy a temporary moment of his vulnerability in each of the songs. But, however fleeting those moments are, Ocean doesn’t pull away from their truthfulness and genuineness at any time. And that seems to be the X-factor of his music, success, and ongoing relevancy.


After being let down by his first major label, and making his first $1 million with Def Jam, Frank Ocean decided to focus on creating music entirely independently. According to DJBooth, in his 2012 GQ interview, Ocean explained that he is holding the creative control of the record he wants to make, and that is how things are going to go for him; as independently as possible.

By establishing his independence as an artist, Frank has managed to use his artistic freedom fully and openly, the way he wants with no outside opinions and critiques. When an artist has such ability and power, of course, their music is going to take time, effort and passion because they create everything alone. Not to mention the quality levels increase automatically, and people know how to recognize unique, autonomous artists and voices in the music industry. That might be yet another reason why Ocean remains relevant and influential even years after his albums drop, or without showing up in public. And when an artist stays relevant only because of their work, without making public stunts and drama, then you know you’re in for a quality treat with their records.

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