‘Nikes’ is the best music video of the year.
‘Nikes’ is a layered music video directed by Tyrone Lebon who states his thoughts on the video as being “a stream of Frank’s consciousness—rich with snippets of stories, emotions and ideas.” That’s as close as you’ll get to any narrative for ‘Nikes’, but the song is about our trappings as hedonistic consumers of material possessions. Jewelry (“a ring like Carmelo”), race cars, all things that glitter, and Nikes, but the real ones.
You’ll hear a domineering voice that competes with Ocean’s auto-tuned crooning in the music video (it’s absent on the album version) that creates a conflict with him directly. This voice is representative of our fake persona’s, our front that we represent to the world. Most evident in this line “Tell these guys you ain’t basic, tell these guys you wear Zanottis, you a hottie, this is heaven on earth” going above and beyond to prove his disembodied status. It’s worth noting that the voice and the auto-tuning stops as soon as Ocean starts singing the second verse. The production narrows its melodic dreamy music and the focus is on his words and true voice.
Frank Ocean stands on stage studded in Balmain (similar to Kanye in the ‘Wolves’ video) and is emotionally open (similar to Kanye in the ‘Wolves’ video). His outfit looks like something from the future and that’s not coincidence because what he’s singing about is the future. “We’ll let you guys prophesy, We gon’ see the future first” is saying go ahead and think about the future because he’s already there. And then there there’s the heartbreaking bridge:
I may be younger but I look after you
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
‘Nikes’ is so lyrically compelling and the video accentuates that with lucid imagery. A naked woman riding a white horse, Ocean laying naked in a bed of money, a Trayvon Martin tribute (along with Pimp C of UGK), a pour up for A$AP Rocky, clothing-optional mermaid parties, a talking chihuahua, and a light emitting from the source of all life. Like the song itself this is a stunningly layered music video. This is a glimpse into the equally-as-layered soul of an artist who is as complex and cutting-edge as his work. A first single that says not only something, but everything.
Here’s the (VERY NSFW btw) video for Frank Ocean’s ‘Nikes’, below:
You can purchase Blonde on iTunes here.
His love of most things in entertainment can be summed up by having an English Bulldog named Spielberg and consistently asking if it’s Halloween yet.