The 24-year-old soul virtuoso performed
his new single "Bad Religion," from his debut album Channel Orange. In the song, Ocean uses a Taxi cab as a place of confession.
Taxi driver, your my shrink for the hour
Leave the meter running, its rush hour
And later he sings:
Taxi driver, I swear I’ve got three lives
Balanced on my head like steak knives
I can’t tell you the truth about my disguise
I can’t trust no one
With lights turned down low, backed by the Roots and an 8-piece string section, Ocean takes listeners with him on an emotional journey of his unrequited love for a man. But its more than that, his pain is compounded by the fact that he has to hide behind a disguise, that he can't risk removing, even with a stranger.
It is a disguise that Ocean removed on his Tumblr
blog last Tuesday when he shocked the hip-hop world by revealing that he had an intimate relationship with a man.
“What i’m about to post is for anyone who cares to read. it was intended to fill the thank you’s section in my album credits [Upcoming album "Channel Orange"], but with all the rumors going round.. i figured it’d be good to clarify,” Ocean first posted.
According to MTV
, rumors about Ocean's sexuality began to circulate last week after a post went up on the blog This Is Max
. The blog referenced lyrics from Frank's upcoming album, Channel Orange, in claiming that the singer had a penchant for both men and women (It has since been removed) using references of "he" instead of "she" on a few of his ballads.
"Whoever you are, wherever you are..I'm starting to think we're a lot alike," the "Novacane" singer begins. "Human beings spinning on blackness. All wanting to be seen, touched, paid attention to."
MTV writes that the lengthy letter, titled "thank you's" details a relationship Ocean had with a man, who it turns out had a girlfriend just as Ocean had had, and the tumultuous emotions that followed. "He wouldn't tell me the truth about his feelings for me for another 3 years," Ocean continues before adding, "I couldn't imagine keeping up my life without him."
Thus the lyrics in "Bad Religion," Ocean sings:
I can never make him love me
Never make him love me, no, no
It’s a, it’s a bad religion
To be in love with someone who can never love you
Support and Silence
As the New York Times
notes, several hip-hop heavy weights have come out in support of Ocean including Jay-Z, Russell Simmons,and Beyonce.
On the other hand, several major hip-hop stars have seemingly remained silent about Ocean’s decision, among them Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Drake and Nicki Minaj. Ocean was also the target of dozens of death threats and antigay comments on Twitter, mostly from men.
Nicki Minaj has spoken out in the past about the climate in the world of hip-hop. In a 2010 interview with Out
magazine, Minaj said, "I think there have been many gay rappers, they just haven't come out of the closet. Yup, lots of them. They're lurking around the industry now."
"Obviously, the majority of the men in hip-hop don't want you to think they're gay. That's just the reality of it,' Minaj added.
Originally scheduled for a July 17 release, Channel Orange dropped last night on iTunes following the performance on Fallon, MTV
In fact, the album, which fans thought wouldn’t be available until next Tuesday, became the No. 1 album on iTunes within the hour, Entertainment Weekly