“I got two versions. I got twoooo versions,” Frank Ocean wrote in April 2015 announcing his new LP, then titled Boys Don’t Cry. That lyric reemerged early Saturday morning in “Nikes,” the first video off the singer’s follow-up to 2012’s Channel Orange and the first evidence that Ocean has more new music planned than his surprise “visual album” Endless.
“Nikes” boasts an array of tantalizing images, including self-immolation, semi-NSFW nudity, wild and glittery nights out and a rapping Chihuahua. The video also features a cameo by A$AP Rocky holding a photo of the late A$AP Yams, plus tributes to Pimp C and Trayvon Martin (“That nigga looked just like me,” Ocean sings.)
Keeping with the “two versions” motif, “Nikes” has Ocean singing as a pair of different guises, one a sped-up vocal, the other slowed down, with the two distinct voices weaving alongside and contrasting each other over the song’s first half. Midway through, Ocean’s unadulterated voice steps in. “We’re not in love / But I make love to you / When you’re not here / I save some for you / I’m not him, but I mean something to you,” Ocean sings.
The video ends with self-immolating Ocean – or at least someone wearing the same Jenny Holzer shirt as Ocean – being extinguished.
As Rolling Stone previously reported when Endless arrived, Ocean is expected to reveal more regarding his new album – which is no longer titled Boys Don’t Cry – during the weekend.
Frank Ocean’s new visual album, ‘Endless,’ features stark, cryptic imagery and music both new and old.