With not much more than a few dollars and his demos on him, Frank Ocean took the trip to Los Angeles that many dream of from his home of Louisiana to pursue a career in music. It was partly because LA is where things happen, but also partly because Hurricane Katrina had destroyed his recording space in New Orleans. The trip was intended to be six weeks long, but lasted for years. When in LA, he started writing music for the likes of Justin Bieber and Beyoncé, what many would call living the dream. But he wasn’t satisfied. “It might have been comfy to continue to do that and enjoy that income stream and the anonymity but that’s not why I moved away from school and away from family.” After getting close with Odd Future, he met Tricky Stewart, producer and A&R for Island/Def Jam, in late 2009. Tricky was amazed by Frank’s singing and songwriting and signed him. But soon after the signing, Stewart ended up leaving and Frank was left with a label who, as the producer and A&R put it, “didn’t give him the respect that I thought he deserved.” He was shelved. This was a time where Frank’s affiliation with Odd Future, who was steadily growing a dedicated fanbase, did him favours. Using the initiative that he saw took them so far, he put together a project called nostalgia, ULTRA and put it out for free with no assistance from Def Jam. In fact, it was put out despite Def Jam. “i. did. this. not ISLAND DEF JAM” he tweeted. “fuck DEF JAM & any company that goes the length of signing a kid with dreams & talent w/ no intention of following through.” The tape garnered very respectable buzz and Def Jam took note immediately. They pushed some songs from it as singles and though this might’ve benefitted Frank, it was understood that this was mainly self-serving and so that they could make money off of it where possible. They wanted to help bring his debut album to the shelves and the relationship was temporarily mended, like putting a mirror back together with cheap glue. Fast forward to the release of channel ORANGE in 2012 and that went as well as the label could have hoped, spawning a Billboard Top 100 charter in “Thinkin Bout You” and turning Frank into a star. But the damage was done, and the battle was on.