Frank Ocean bared his soul—and his chest—in a new interview with Oyster magazine’s Zac Bayly for the publication’s Hang Out In Real Life Issue. We learned some interesting things about the hip-hop rising star, including the fact that he has trouble shopping for pants, he never had a creative role model growing up, and that he sold lots of crack in high school.
And we also got a peek at the fierce cover shoot by Nabil Elderkin, who shot Ocean’s “Pyramids” video.
Check out an excerpt below:
Frank Ocean: …You know, I didn’t ever have a disciplinarian in my creative life. As a young person I didn’t have — for lack of a better word — I didn’t have a Joe Jackson in my family. I didn’t have that sort of overbearing stage-parent… Or, even, I didn’t even have a parent who encouraged what I did in that way. And — don’t bring out the string section. It’s not really sad — what it did foster is… Well, my attitude was pure. I love to make music, and I love to write. It was writing first. I love to write and express myself in that medium, so that was the pure part — just the love of doing something, but there was also this fantasy of what the lifestyle would be and what the trappings of success would be. There are different little montage clips that you make up in your mind, like what a day in the life would be like once you’re a fully grown whatever-you’re-going-to-become, you know?
Zac Bayly: Yeah. I think every decision I make in life is based on a montage that I see in my head.
Frank Ocean: Yeah — yeah. I think that was me, but there was a transition — and it wasn’t like I just woke up and had an epiphany, but it was a transition where I began to realise that if I didn’t really begin to focus on the work, I couldn’t see any way for me to become who I wanted to become. It just wasn’t gonna happen. And then somewhere in that time of my life it was like… Instead of wanting to get to a certain level of fame or how much liquid assets I had under my name, it was more like, “How well can I develop my skill set?” You know? “How far can I push my creativity? If I’m gonna do this — if I’m gonna be a singer/songwriter — then OK, I’m a singer/songwriter, but how can I be the best?”
What were you like in school?
I was a thug. I sold a lot of cocaine and crack.
You sold cocaine and crack?
All the time.
I was not as cool as you.
You weren’t as cool as me?
I was reading Harry Potter.
Harry Potter is good.
Wait — so you were reading Harry Potter and selling crack?