The Meaning Behind “Chanel” by Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean put a voice to his sexuality with “Chanel.” The rapper garnered acclaim from both fans and critics alike when he released “Chanel” as a single in 2017. He doesn’t hide behind his words, with the opening lines stating my guy pretty like a girl / And he got fight stories to tell / I see both sides like Chanel / See on both sides like Chanel.

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Below, we look at the meaning behind “Chanel” by Frank Ocean.

Meaning Behind the Song

“Chanel” was written by Ocean with Jacob Ludwig Olofsson, Rami Dawood, Adam Feeney, and Michael Uzowuru. Ocean premiered the track on his then-radio show, Blonded Radio, and also released a remix with ASAP Rocky, who contributed lyrics to the remixed version.

Feeney, who at the time went by the stage name Frank Dukes, also produced the song with Ocean, Uzowuru, Swedish duo Jarami, Jeff Kleinman, and Payton Maerz. Dukes recalls working with Ocean and how the song quickly came together. Feeney notes that Jarami had the concept for the song’s production, with Ocean bringing in Feeney and the rest of the team to help finish it.

[RELATED: 5 Songs You Didn’t Know Frank Ocean Wrote For Other Artists]

“We had just met recently and he just told me to come through and play me some records,” Feeney explains to Zane Lowe on Beats1, calling Ocean “incredible.” “He was like, ‘you wanna fuck around with some of these?’ I went in on it and I think it came out a few days later. To me, it was a great moment because I’m such a fan of Frank, like everyone. It’s one of those things. Frank is so fucking good that you’re just like, when you’re there with him you’re just like, ‘Cool, let me just make sure I don’t fuck this up.'”

You need a cosign for your health
I need that bitch to grind on my belt
I know you need to try for my belt
I know you seen it drivin’ itself
No matte black on the ride ’cause it’s stale, but it’s stealth

I see both sides like Chanel
I see both sides like Chanel

An Open Letter

Ocean has been open about his sexual fluidity and attraction to other men. Five years before “Chanel” was released, he shared in a 2012 Tumblr post about how he fell in love with another man when he was 19.

“It was my first love, it changed my life,” he wrote. “Whoever you are, wherever you are… I’m starting to think we’re a lot alike,” he continued about his sexuality. “Human beings spinning on blackness. All wanting to be seen, touched, paid attention to.” He stated at the end of the post, “I feel like a free man.”

A Dynamic Life

Following the release of the open letter, Ocean has not confirmed if he’s bisexual and has rejected putting a label on his sexuality.

[RELATED: Top 7 Frank Ocean Songs]

“I’ll respectfully say that life is dynamic and comes along with dynamic experiences, and the same sentiment that I have towards genres of music, I have towards a lot of labels and bos and shit,” he asserted in a 2012 GQ interview.

“Because people realize everything that I say is so relatable because when you’re talking about romantic love, both sides in all scenarios feel the same shit,” he continues. “As a writer, as a creator, I’m giving you my experiences…I’m giving you what I feel like you can feel. The other shit, you can’t feel. You can’t feel a box. You can’t feel a label.”

“Chanel” reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart and No. 30 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It has been certified platinum in the U.S. for sales of at least one million copies.

Photo by Josh Brasted/WireImage

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