What is the difference between artists like Andre 3000, Kanye West and Jay-Z — who hold fans’ attention as well as they hold the beat — and the countless other musicians whose careers sputter through the predictable cycle of stardom and irrelevance? While the latter group allows themselves to be defined and categorized by fans and media for easy consumption, the greats define themselves on their own terms. When GQ’s Amy Wallace asked Frank Ocean to define his sexuality in the men’s magazine’s “Men of the Year” feature, she was testing the 25-year-old’s artistic gangsta. And while his cryptic answer surely frustrated fans that simply wanted deeper insight into his lyrics, and validated skeptics who still see his revelation about his sexuality as a publicity stunt, Frank proved his dedication to true artistry and foreshadowed a career with its best creativity still to come.
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