After four long years, Frank Ocean fans finally received the follow-up to 2012’s Channel Orange this past weekend. Blonde dropped exclusively on Apple Music on Saturday evening, yielding the expected deluge of tweets and memes as fans begin to unpack the rich, guitar-driven collection of songs. Early standouts include opener “Nikes” and “Nights,” but closer “Futura Free” features a special gem for Selena superfans. On the nine-minute stream-of-consciousness track, Ocean raps about everything from coping with fame to his friendship with Tyler, the Creator. Right after citing Tupac’s 1996 death, Ocean alludes to the murder of the Tejano star, singing “I feel like Selena/They want to murder a n***a/Murder me like Selena.”
Former fan club president Yolanda Saldívar shot Selena Quintanilla on March 31, 1995. As Genius reports, Ocean seems to be using Selena’s tragic death as a metaphor for the relentless pressure he has faced from fans and the media while working on Blonde over the past four years. Ocean suggests that the stress of stardom will eventually lead to the end of his own life. Earlier on the track, the R&B artist even sings, “Please gimme immortality/I’m going rapidly/Fading drastically,” implying that his death is near. Along with the declaration that Tupac “escaped the press” through death, “Futura Free” finds Ocean grappling with the very real pressures of celebrity culture and its often deadly consequences.
Powerful meditations like this abound on Blonde, typically in the form of meandering interludes and segues. Stream Blonde on Apple Music, and be sure to keep an eye out for more Selena-related news in October, when the Tejano singer’s long-awaited MAC collection and Ones vinyl release are set to drop.