Check out Frank Ocean who is featured on the cover of the brand new issue of The New York Times Magazine.
Frank Ocean did not want to ride in my rented Ford Fusion; that much was clear. After I parked the car, he met me outside his modernist apartment building in Los Angeles and led me to the garage where he rents three parking spots for three different BMWs. He was dressed casually — gray hoodie, jeans, high-top Vans with red laces, baseball cap — and he jumped lightly from the curb to the parking blocks as we walked toward his late-model blue BMW M3. Ocean no longer had driving privileges as a result of some recent violations, on top of which he was cited for marijuana possession a few weeks earlier. “You can drive,” he said, though I could tell that it was killing him.
At our first official interview earlier in the day, Ocean spent the first five minutes staring down at his phone. He didn’t so much as look up at me, as I made small talk with his managers and awaited his attention. Eventually he said, “Here’s what I think about music and journalism: The most important thing is to just press play.” He followed that with, “All in all, I just don’t trust journalists — and I don’t think it’s a good practice for me to trust journalists.” But he did promise to let me do my job, so there we were. I managed to get the car in gear and out of the garage, but as we pulled onto Vine, I took a dip too quickly. There was an ominous crunch as the front end scraped on the roadway, and Ocean winced. In my mind I booked the next red-eye home. But the formality and distance that characterized our lunch that day had given way to a softer, more relaxed mood. “Don’t worry about it, bro,” Ocean said with a smile, and we were off.
Maybe he didn’t mind because we were headed somewhere that he was actually excited to go, a garage in North Hollywood, where a vintage 1990 BMW E30 sedan is being rebuilt to his exact specifications. He likes to show up unannounced, just to see if they’re working on his car, and as soon as we got there, Ocean jumped out and headed to the back of the shop. The car was indeed up on a lift, and as he circled it, he began to tick off things that he didn’t like. He’s 25, but he speaks like somebody who expects to be listened to. His managers, Christian and Kelly Clancy, told me the night before — by way of explaining that anything could happen, or not, interview-wise — that Frank Ocean makes the decisions where Frank Ocean is concerned. They help him steer, but he goes only if he wants to.
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