Frank Ocean has to be the closest thing to a Yoruba demon the world has seen in recent times and considering Nigerians already have to deal with President Buhari, you don’t have to tell us about failed promises. The Odd Future alumnus has postponed his album release so many times, even die-hard fans are beginning to consider the singer’s initial existence as a figment of our collective imaginations.
Funnily, Frank Ocean’s incognito mode since the release of the Channel Orange album in 2012 bears semblance with Wande Coal’s disappearance after his critically acclaimed M2M debut. Save for a handful of singles and select verses as a featured artist, Wande Coal stayed off the radar with no major projects released for over 6 years. This was against the backdrop of lingering rumours of a Wizkid joint album and several promises of an upcoming project. In those years, fans yearned for him with a feverish anticipation and near-maddening thirst for a dose of a Wande Coal who unarguably created the roadmap of everything new-age Afropop has become today.
Like Frank Ocean who currently has the internet on standby (thanks to another speculated-probably-false release set for today), Wande Coal’s choke hold on the industry gave him the confidence to pull off only a half-assed two-week promotional campaign before his Wanted album dropped last year, an act that many A-listers would have required specific kinds of super powers to pull off.
Though Frank Ocean has chosen carpentry in the last 72 hours instead of releasing his album and yes, Wande Coal’s Wanted was mediocre for most of its parts, there is an actual method to both their insanities that resonates with us. To put things simply, these two prove there is an actual crack in the system if artists actually make great music.
Wande Coal’s M2M debut only leveraged on the singer’s contributions with his former label, MoHits and a handful of solo singles, yet it landed with a loud bang still echoing across the continent till date. Frank Ocean likewise released a Grammy-winning Channel Orange debut that altered the course of the alternative R&B and neo-soul genre forever. These two are not your everyday new-age artists, they are innovators whose glories stretch beyond small pockets of random brilliance.
In any pop-culture climate, visibility and consistency are two factors paramount to continued relevance. Hencce, the reason many bad publicists iterate the infamous “Any PR is good PR” watchword or why artists like Olamide release new projects at frenetic rates. Yet, Wande Coal and Frank Ocean exist in the same world. Both with the uncanny ability to go off grid only to return to an even more enthused fan base no questions asked.
And you know why? Because there are very few people who can deliver what they can.