Frank Ocean Explains Why He Had Two Verses On A$AP Rocky’s "RAF"


Every few months, if we’re lucky, Frank Ocean obliges to do an interview for a major – or less major – publication. While most of us are primarily interested in knowing when we can expect new music from the enigmatic artist, his interviews often contain little gems of philosophical musings that are satisfying nonetheless. In a new interview with W Magazine, Frank frankly stated that he does not have a release date in mind for his next project, but he did give us an idea of what he’s up to these days. He is “working on music and other things,” he said, but also focused on “doing four underwater laps in the pool.”

When asked by Diane Solway how him and his friend, A$AP Rocky, have influenced each other creatively, Frank discussed his feature on “RAF.” “RAF” appeared on A$AP Mob‘s 2016 Cozy Tapes, Vol. 1 and featured verses from Rocky, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert and Frank. When the song first premiered on Frank’s Beats 1 show, “Blonded Radio,” two versions were played with two different Frank verses. The song was first officially released with only one of the verses and then the album version included both Frank verses back-to-back. Frank explained to W Mag why this was the case.

“I remember doing the “Raf” verses [on A$AP Rocky’s 2017 song “Raf”], and at the time I was practicing rap, practicing structuring verses, practicing flow, trying to get better at doing it. I was writing a lot of verses. Rocky [and the A$AP Mob] were making Cozy Tapes, the second one, and Rocky told me he had this song called “Raf,” and I thought that was funny. I was living in a hotel then, and I had a studio setup somewhere else on the property. So I jump in the studio and I’m putting the verse down, just quick, you know, sorted it out, went by Rocky’s house and played him the song. I could tell he was very animated about it, and then he said, “Man, you rappin’ like it’s 2003.” And I was just like, “Oh, shit!” I understood why he was saying it, because the flow was more complicated. I thought, All right, we want the bouncy today thing. Let me riff on that idea. And so I wrote that verse, and I sent it to him. And I told him, ‘Tell me, what year are we now?'”

Based on the flow patterns used, it appears that Frank’s first verse on the album version was the one he offered to subscribe to today’s sound, while his second verse was the original, “more complicated” one that gave Rocky 2003 vibes. 

Read the rest of the new interview here, where Frank also discusses his current musical influences and his famous move that got him released from his Def Jam contract.