The comment came during Jay’s appearance in a Twitter Space hosted by Alicia Keys earlier this week (the singer was there to promote her recent eighth album, ‘KEYS’), where he also compared Beyoncé to Michael Jackson, and said there was “not a chance in hell” that someone could take him on in a VERZUZ battle.
“You know, the success has to be like Frank Ocean,” Jay said in the Space. “Now obviously, you know, he’s super popular, but I wouldn’t say that he’s playing by what were the industry rules. He’s playing by his own set of rules – he’s making music that he wants to make, and it doesn’t fit a format.
“He doesn’t have songs on there that fit pop radio or that make it [to] a billion streams; he just has music that’s better than everyone else. And that’s what has to be the goal going forwards. And I don’t want to say [he’s] better than everyone in terms of competing with music, I’m just saying, like he has some of the best music that we’ve ever heard.”
Keys echoed the praise for Ocean, vouching that he “lives in his world and goes and creates what he loves”, and that it’s clear he’s not “playing by anybody else’s rules”.
Jay-Z speaks on Frank Ocean. pic.twitter.com/mR60SSU3yE
— Odd Future (@OddFuturePage) December 22, 2021
Ocean – who made waves with his neon green robot baby at this year’s Met Gala – has been eerily mum in recent months. His last release was a double A-side, comprising the tracks ‘Dear April’ and ‘Cayendo’, back in April 2020. His most recent full-length was ‘Blonde’, which landed all the way back in August of 2016.
Fans may not have to wait much longer for Ocean’s third studio album, though, as it was reported in September that he was “shopping” the record to various labels. While he reportedly signed a deal with Warner Chappell Music publishing in 2019, Ocean has remained independent since he left Def Jam following the release of ‘Endless’, a day before he self-released ‘Blonde’.
2021 also saw Ocean launch his “independent American luxury company”, Homer, which he opened up about during his first interview in two years back in August. That same month, Homer opened a flagship store in New York City.
Ocean’s last performance went down in 2017, when he headlined that year’s Flow Festival in Helsinki, Finland. His return to the stage has been locked in, though it won’t be for a long while: earlier in the year, he was confirmed to be headlining Coachella 2023.