Super Rich Kids (Frank Ocean)

Hippedy-hop has all but lost its initial burning righteousness, its Chuck D holler, and prostrated itself before the tastelessly bejewelled, puddle-shallow gods of conspicuous consumption. There are some exceptions, of course, like left-wing Pan-Africanists Dead Prez and the brutally articulate Immortal Technique. But one of the most interesting new artists to have recently appeared and bucked the materially-fixated trend is the very differently political Frank Ocean. His debut album, Channel ORANGE, is a masterpiece-creation of alternative RnB, studded with subtle, socially-conscious vignettes rather than bludgeoning calls for revolution. The stark ‘Benny And The Jets’ piano throb that pulses under ‘Super Rich Kids’ perfectly complements Ocean’s wryly bleak meditation on the sad, empty lives lived by the offspring of the mindlessly wealthy. He doesn’t condemn them, although the track is an implicit condemnation of their hollow, emotionally-mangling way of life. Instead, he pities them, which is far more original.