Our 20 Black Voices of the New Century series feaures one of the single most important songwriters, vocalists and rappers to emerge since 2000. Frank Ocean is originally from New Orleans but moved to LA in the wake of Katrina. He found a musical home originally as a songwriter for hire and later became part of the Odd Future collective with his friend Tyler The Creator. The turning point in his career was the release of the Nostalgia, Ultra Mixtape in 2011 and the song “Novacane.” When he released his album channel ORANGE in 2012 critics praised it as heralding a new direction in R&B and it went on to be nominated for six Grammy Awards. At the time of its release Ocean also posted on Tumblr about the importance of an unrequited same sex relationship in his teens and generally got great support from the often homophobic hip-hop community.

Read more in the series: Twenty Black Voices for a New Century here