Even after the whirlwind year Frank Ocean has had (capping off with an incredible six Grammy nominations including nods in major categories Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist, not to mention list-dominating kudos in various end-of-year music site and publication collections), it’s difficult, in today’s here today/ gone today rapid-cycling culture, to not start fretting about what’s next for him.
The man has already began making making mention of possibly not doing another album, sparking concerns of him ending up being the latest in a long line of black music geniuses (in line with the Sly Stone’s, Lauryn Hill’s, D’Angelo’s and Andre 3000’s of the world) frustratingly stingy with new material, a depressing future reality that has left us ready to wholeheartedly embrace any new drip to emerge from him, because for all we know it could be his last, whether for awhile or…gasp…for all time.
That said, “Wiseman”, Ocean’s unused contribution to the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s new flick Django Unchained, was uploaded to the artist’s Tumblr and it’s about as beautiful, poetic and unique as one would likely assume.
Breathing with the kind of Frank Ocean-signature intimacy that makes you feel like a pervy voyeur when just listening to it, “Wiseman” sees the songwriter putting to wax lines of universal truths (“Wiseman closed his mouth/ Madman closed his fist/ Young man shows his age/ Judge man named it sin…”) that all lead to one poignant definite: that no matter the “roles” we adhere to in our lifetimes, or the many ways we strive to evolve over time, or the dalliances with love and war we commit to, it’s all meaningless in a big picture that lays it’s rules plainly. We are born, we live, we die.