Music

OPINION: Frank Ocean vs The Weeknd – An Update

by cminaya

Year in and year out, one-time phenoms fade away to mediocrity and off people’s radar, which is understandable due to the endless evolution of music that constantly calls upon newer artists to fit the new phase. Frank Ocean and The Weeknd, however, have stayed the course and actually elevated their buzz to greater heights, respectively, complicating the decision as to which is the heir apparent to the rhythm and blues throne, something that was debated May of last year.

For 2011, GQ named Ocean Rookie of the Year, thanks to the limited but appreciable work he has done since releasing the prodigious nostalgia, ULTRA. From writing for Beyonce’s LP 4 to being the first voice heard on The Throne’s Watch the Throne, Ocean has kept busy. Still, The Weeknd has as well, leaving many traces of himself on Drake’s Take Care; “Crew Love” was clearly more of his doing than Drizzy’s, but The Weeknd also contributed to “Shot for Me,” “Good Ones Go (Interlude),” “Practice” and “The Ride,” the latter which he coproduced with Doc McKinney. On that account of impacting other artists, The Weeknd persists in being preferable when comparing him to Ocean.

When Lady GaGa takes a leaf out of your book to remix one of her records, you have had a substantial impact. The Weeknd along with producer Illangelo remixed GaGa’s “Marry the Night (The Weeknd Remix)” for GaGa’s Born This Way (The Remix) project. Even so, GaGa was not the only one to recruit The Weeknd to remake a record so that it mirrors his often dark and morose style, for Florence + the Machine did the same for “Shake It Out (The Weeknd Remix).”

Contrarily, Ocean, born Christopher Breaux, has kept it in-house for the most part, supplying Odd Future with his services, like he did for Tyler, The Creator’s “She” and “Window” off of Goblin, MellowHype’s “Rico” for BlackenedWhite and OFWGKTA’s “Analog 2,” “Snow White” and “White” on The OF Tape Vol. 2. Besides, his only complete solo effort since taking on the persona of Frank Ocean, nostalgia, ULTRA., sounds as fresh today as it did when it was first released and has accrued over 400,000 downloads.

What’s more, Ocean, who left New Orleans to move to Los Angeles at 18, is all but undoubtedly a superior songwriter than The Weeknd, something originally overlooked in last year’s piece. Ocean exhibits his gift as a writer, one of the few things he is openly confident about, in records like “Novacane” and “American Wedding,” where he illustrates to a T by personifying characters while also describing emotions and settings. Meanwhile, many a time, The Weeknd’s tales are unvarying.

For all that, the XO frontman has been valiant in putting out an ample number of tracks while, more importantly, not abandoning being the voice for the nightlife’s frame of mind that is repeatedly ignored. Time and time again, R&B artists give accounts of the nightlife as just being a lifestyle of going to clubs and parties and charming an alluring woman enough to fornicate with her and maybe one of her friends, typically leaving out or not sufficiently discussing the other side to the way of life, which includes droves of drugs, manipulation as well as desperation and more. The Weeknd simply sings secrets, explicating things plenty refrain from disclosing but relate to. That is why his trilogy of mixtapes has accumulated over 730,000 downloads in less than a year and also why he is fitter than Ocean, who is amazing in his own right but is slightly beginning to blend in with other artists despite his quirky humor in lyrics and other unique traits.

At any rate, when Ocean releases his next effort, he can possibly oust The Weeknd, depending on much he grows as an artist and how well he showcases it. As of now, the OF affiliate is still lagging behind The Weeknd, who continues to have a bigger impact and addresses ostracized subject matters.

As far as those who will question why the two are being compared, recall the existence of: award shows, competition, reviews, pride, winners, the term “best” and so on. This is my opinion, not facts. If you disagree, debate by explaining your position as comments below.