The world has been patiently waiting for Frank Ocean to drop the followup to his critically-acclaimed album, Channel Orange, for four years. However, an array of activity which involved a website and details of inner workings with Apple suggested that we'd finally get Boys Don't Cry in all its glory on August 5.
But alas, Friday came and went and we were still left with a Frank Ocean discography with only one entry.
With additional speculation pointing to November 13, 2016 as the new release date - which coincides with Odd Future’s Camp Flog Gnaw festival - one can't help but question whether Frank Ocean may join a list of prominent musicians who only released one album despite a career forecast which called for a thunderstorm of projects.
Although there are only a handful of artists who earned acclaim based off a single studio album, it bears repeating that Frank Ocean could potentially join the fraternity given his extended hiatus.
It's hard to believe that if you take away her work with The Fugees, Lauryn Hill only has one studio album to her name: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
To say it was successful both financially and for its artistry would be a vast understatement. The first week it sold more than 420,000 copies - breaking the first week sales record for female artists - and ended up going eight-times platinum. When the Grammys rolled around, Hill won five for the project - including earning the honor of becoming the first hip-hop album to win Album of the Year.
The same year the record came out, Hill spoke to Ebony about the process of making the record, saying, "When some women are pregnant, their hair and their nails grow, but for me it was my mind and ability to create. I had the desire to write in a capacity that I hadn't done in a while. I don't know if it's a hormonal or emotional thing ... I was very in touch with my feelings at the time."
On February 8, 1999, TIME Magazine celebrated hip-hop’s 20th anniversary by featuring a 12-page cover story on Lauryn Hill. To put things in perspective, the magazine had only placed 17 black figures on its cover throughout the 1990s (out of 525 covers). Only five — including Bill Cosby, Bill T. Jones, Toni Morrison and Oprah Winfrey — worked in arts and entertainment. Lauryn Hill was the only musician.
“What Lauryn is doing is opening doors for female artists who aren’t materialistic and flashing their titties,” Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA told MTV. “She represents a beauty and a wholesomeness that’s more down-to-earth. She makes music that people can relate to, which is why she’s done so well.”
Much of the sonic composition on Miseducation was handled by a group of musicians known as New Ark (Vada Nobles, Rasheem Pugh, Tejumold and Johari Newton), who helped cultivate a record that was equal parts boom bap as it was a secular nod to gospel music - despite the album credits pointing to Hill as the lone producer on every song except for two.
Ultimately, this question of credit proved to be one of the initial distractions that contributed heavily to Hill being unable to focus on a sophomore album.
In November 1998, New Ark filed a suit against Hill alleging that they hadn't been fairly credited for their work on the project - claiming they deserve a share of songwriting or production credit on 13 of the album's 14 songs. Two years after the lawsuit began, New Ark received $5 million USD in punitive damages.
In the winter of 1999, Hill disappeared from public life. For years afterward, the prevailing theory was that she'd had some kind of breakdown and was turning down not just music opportunities, but also roles in films like Charlie's Angels, The Bourne Identity, The Mexican, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
In a 2009 interview, Hill reflected on the aftermath of her debut album, telling Essence, "People need to understand that the Lauryn Hill they were exposed to in the beginning was all that was allowed in that arena at that time. There was much more strength, spirit and passion, desire, curiosity, ambition and opinion that was not allowed in a small space designed for consumer mass appeal and dictated by very limited standards. I had to step away when I realized that for the sake of the machine, I was being way too compromised. I felt uncomfortable about having to smile in someone’s face when I really didn’t like them or even know them well enough to like them. I thought it was okay for me to write a song about something complicated if I was going through something complicated. But I discovered people could only acknowledge red and blue and I was somewhere between. I was purple. I had to fight for an identity that doesn’t fit in one of their boxes. I’m a whole woman. And when I can’t be whole, I have a problem. By the end I was like, 'I’ve got to get out of here.'”
When British punk rock band Sex Pistols were honored with entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, their response was indicative of the counterculture attitude which had ignited the feelings of youthful Britons and others throughout the world, saying that they refused to attend the ceremony because the museum was "a piss stain" and "urine in wine."
Their debut record Never Mind the Bollocks...Here’s the Sex Pistols was released in Britain in October 1977 at a time in music when Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart, Bad Company, the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, Elton John, Eric Clapton, and Pink Floyd were the acts that defined rock stardom. The album charted at number one - although the response in the United States was far more tepid where it peaked at 106 and then dropped off after 12 weeks.
In support of the album's release, Sex Pistols took to the States for a series of shows across the heartland and finally at Winterland in San Francisco. Johnny Rotten addressed the raucous crowd, saying, “Welcome to London!" before the group launched into a frenzied version “God Save The Queen.”
Despite the festive environment, Rotten signed off, saying, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”
The band broke up that same day.
"Rock 'n' roll is over, don't you understand?" Rotten said a few years after the Pistols broke up. "It's gone on for 25 years, and it's got to be canceled. The Pistols finished rock 'n' roll; they were the last rock and roll band."
In 1987, Rolling Stone named it the second best album of the previous 20 years, behind only The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
"Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols may not be the best punk rock album ever, but it is the most important - and certainly ONE of the best in all of rock 'n' roll much less its genre," wrote Gary Graff on Billboard.
Singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley's debut album, Grace, represents a project that has only gained more attention and acclaim since it was released in 1994. Although it only ever peaked as high as number 149 on the U.S. charts due, as of 2007, the albums has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
Buckley was 25 when he moved to New York in 1991 and became a regular performer in the city's underground clubs. A year later, he signed with Columbia Records and went to work on what would become his only studio album while he was still alive.
In late May 1997, Buckley went to Memphis to begin work on his sophomore album.
According to Memphis police, Buckley, 30, and Keith Foti were sitting on a bank of the river listening to a radio. The singer waded into the river even though his friend called out to him and warned that it could be dangerous, police said. Buckley then floated on his back and began to sing. At that point, a boat came by creating large waves. Fearing the radio would get wet, the companion got up to move it and when he returned, Buckley had disappeared, according to police.
Six days after he had been presumed dead, crew on the American Queen riverboat said they saw a body floating in the Mississippi River at the foot of Memphis's famous music row, Beale Street. Eventually, Buckley's body was retrieved and identified.
Following his death, the Buckley family estate released a statement, saying, "Jeff Buckley's death was not 'mysterious,' related to drugs, alcohol, or suicide. We have a police report, a medical examiner's report, and an eye witness to prove that it was an accidental drowning, and that Mr. Buckley was in a good frame of mind prior to the accident."
Buckley continues to influence an array of artists. Radiohead's Thom Yorke was struggling to record their hit song, "Fake Plastic Trees," until he says he was inspired at a Buckley's concert. Grammy winners John Legend and Adele have also said they were inspired by Buckley's voice.
Although their tenure as a band was short-lived, D.C. hardcore punk band, Minor Threat, left a huge impact on the music industry - most notably fanning the flames of the upstart, anti-establishment movement with their first album, Out of Step, and birthing what would become known as the "Straight Edge" movement which would later be an ethos adopted by bands of the era like SS Decontrol and 7 Seconds.
The album is relatively short for a full-length - coming in at only 22 minutes in length - but frontman, Ian MacKaye, achieves something truly magical and unique with the brevity.
While there was an early indication that Minor Threat would be a band with a relatively short shelf-life due in large part to a temporary hiatus after guitarist Lyle Preslar moved away to attend at Northwestern University, the band officially called it quits after a brief period of reconciliation and unity in 1983 after citing differentiating opinions on the band's musical direction.
While both Madlib and MF DOOM are rightfully elevated into the pantheon of hip-hop greats based on their own individual merits, there is something that pushes them to new heights when they work together - as evidenced by the one and only time they've come together on an entire studio project; 2004's Madvillainy.
The idiosyncacies that make each musician great are on full display on the project. DOOM is both lucid and whimsical with his rhymes spanning his physical environment to science fiction themes, while Madlib's compositions seem to be equal parts boom bap as they are a soundtrack for a David Lynch film.
Although Madvillainy 2 would be released, it's a complete remix of their highly acclaimed debut and according to Stones Throw Records, the result of Madlib not being able to wait for the official sequel of their debut.
In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Madlib was asked about the status of new material, saying, "I handed all the beats to Doom years ago, but ever since he's been in Europe, he's been hard to get a hold of. I feel it probably won't happen, but you never know. I can't sit and wait on that. I did my part."