Hidden Gems From Frank Ocean's 'Blonded Radio'

Frank Ocean has been sharing some amazing deep cuts on his Beats 1 radio show.

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Image via Apple Music
frank ocean blonded

Frank Ocean has been using his Beats 1 show "Blonded Radio" to bless us with a consistent stream of new music over the last two months. Five episodes in, however, we're realizing the series has a lot more to offer than just new Frank Ocean songs.

Hosts Federico Aliprandi, Vegyn, Roof Access, and Frank have done an excellent job of bringing great under-the-radar music to the surface alongside older classics and current hits. In the list that follows, we dive into our favorite discoveries and speak to some of the artists about their music and what it was like hearing their songs on Frank's radio show.

Trust Fund - "Would That Be An Adventure?"

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Trust Fund is the musical child of English musician Ellis Jones, made up of a rotating cast of UK musicians that has included a dozen members over the years. However, Jones tells us, "In terms of recording it has usually been like halfway between a solo thing and a band thing."

Leaning in a more R&B-influenced direction than most of Trust Fund's indie rock-oriented sounds, Jones says, "I guess it was an attempt to nod towards R&B (although I also think it sounds like The Carpenters), so it feels good to know that maybe I didn't fail at that completely, and that my use of autotune has been validated at the highest level. Another genre mastered."

Played near the end of Blonded Radio Episode 005, the song's inclusion drew new ears to Jones' music—and a barrage of messages from friends. "Mainly they just said 'what' or 'fuck,'" he says. "But still it is nice to get messages." The rest of the project, We have always lived in The Harolds, is available on bandcamp and cassette.

Maleek Berry - "Let Me Know"

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London-based producer/singer Maleek Berry launched his career in Nigeria, producing records for artists like Wizkid, Naeto C, and Wande Coal. Then in 2016, he broke out as a successful solo artist with a six-track EP called Last Daze of Summer that featured hit single "Kontrol." The project's second song "Let Me Know" is a clear highlight as well, mixing Afrobeat, Dancehall, and R&B influences into a summer-ready track that showcases his ability to mix excellent self-produced beats with strong vocals. This guy's the total package.


Young Fathers - "Get Started"

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Winners of the prestigious Mercury Prize for their 2014 debut studio album, Dead, Young Fathers is an experimental hip-hop/pop group from Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2015, they avoided a sophomore slump with a great follow-up project, White Men Are Black Men Too, and the album's final track "Get Started" is a standout. Managing to mold their experimental approach to songwriting into an accessible package, "Get Started" is a wild ride through shape-shifting peaks and valleys—built on the back of a contagious melody that'll leave you humming long after the song ends.


Bare Pale - "Wait"

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Bare Pale began as the solo project of London musician Matthew Rickelton in 2011 and has grown to include a rotating cast of band members as the group has gone on to release a handful of EPs over the last six years.

Included as a bonus track on their new EP, be where i am, Rickelton says "Wait" was written "at a different time to the other songs. I have a bunch of quieter, softer songs I was planning on releasing together, but the good dudes at Lunar Ruins heard ‘Wait’ and wanted it on there. I then wanted it as a digital only bonus track. I felt it was too far removed from the rest of the EP and didn’t want too much attention on it. But of course, quite the opposite has happened. Very surprised and pleased nonetheless."

Rickelton refers to "Blonded" host Vegyn as "a dear old friend" of his and says the song's inclusion on Episode 005 has attracted new attention to the track as well as the EP (which was "loosely themed around the idea of living in a house with someone").

"It’s been great, people seem to really like the track and they’re also giving the other songs on the EP a chance too," Rickelton tells us. "I’m haps. Not sure how long it’ll last though, as I’m guessing most of the attention is people being like ‘Who the fuck is this band Frank played on his show?’ But it’s been a nice bit of exposure for this little ol’ bedroom rocker."


Ezro - "Dreams From The Hood"

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Ezro is a young producer and MC from London who is part of Vision Crew, a seven person grime collective who have appeared often alongside Novelist on radio, pushing a new genre they’ve labeled Ruff Sound. Ezro also produced AJ Tracey's "Spirit Bomb," but he proves he's more than a producer on his new album, Ghost In The Bluewhich came out earlier this year.

There are a lot of different moods on Ghost In The Blue, but "Dreams From The Hood," the album's final track before a spoken word outro, is one of the more reflective moments. Ezro breaks down his efforts to make things better for his friends and family, and the track provided a slower moment in between Lil Uzi Vert's "XO Tour Llif 3" and Kendrick Lamar's "Lust" on Blonded 004.


Vegyn - "Templez of Light"

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Vegyn is one of the hosts of Frank's Blonded radio but he's also a brilliant producer in his own right, as well as the man behind the label PLZ Make It Ruins. The British artist's 2015 Janhui EP is an underrated gem, pushing and pulling electronic and club music in different directions, with the results just as likely to put you in a trance as make you dance.

"Templez of Light," Vegyn's ambient track from 2017's Fortune Cookie EP, got the spin on Blonded 002, but he also released more percussion-heavy music this year, including "Phone Phoneys." For something a little different, check out Vegyn's remixes of Future, Gucci Mane, and Wu-Tang Clan, but whatever you do don't sleep—as he pointed out on Twitter, he helped produce the Young Thug version of "Slide On Me" and "Lens" with Travis Scott. It's been a good year for Vegyn.


G Perico - "My World"

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South Central Los Angeles rapper G Perico grew up listening to a mix of funk, soul, and hip-hop (including artists like Hot Boys, Jay Z, E-40, Sade, and Earth, Wind & Fire). The eclectic range of influences rears its head throughout his 2016 album Shit Don't Stop, but before getting into the meat of the project, he sets the stage with a funky, self-assured intro called "My World." Without even rapping a bar, enough of Perico's charisma leaks onto the record to properly introduce us to an exciting new artist—or in his own words, "bring us to his world."


Kojo Funds ft. Abra Cadabra - "Dun Talkin'"

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East London MC Kojo Funds' collaboration with fellow London native Abra Cadabra is a hit. Mixing addicting melodies with heavy bass and imposing bars about street violence, "Dun Talkin'" has been getting steady plays at UK clubs and its music video has over nine million views. It hasn't quite crossed over into American success yet, but an appearance on Episode 003 of Blonded Radio shouldn't hurt.


SquidNice - "Trap By My Lonely"


SquidNice's intoxicating, melodic style has turned the young NYC rapper into a favorite at P&P this year, making us all excited to see his new single "Trap By My Lonely" included on Episode 003 of Blonded Radio. With play counts rolling into seven digits on SoundCloud, it looks like he's got a hit on his hands. And if you missed it, you can watch him perform the song in our backyard at SXSW below.


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