Frank Ocean (born Christopher Edwin Cooksey on October 28, 1987; later Christopher Edwin Breaux) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and photographer. Ocean began his musical career as a ghostwriter, prior to joining hip hop collective Odd Future in 2010, and the following year released Nostalgia, Ultra, his debut mixtape. The mixtape was a critical success and generated the single "Novacane", which peaked at number 82 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was later certified platinum. Ocean subsequently secured a recording contract with Def Jam Recordings in 2012.
Ocean's music has been characterized by music writers as idiosyncratic in style. Ocean's music generally includes the electronic keyboard, often performed by Ocean himself, and is backed by a subdued rhythm section in the production. His compositions are often midtempo, feature unconventional melodies, and they occasionally have an experimental song structure. He has been characterised as both an "avant-garde R&B artist" and a "pop musician". In his songwriting, Jon Pareles of The New York Times observes "open echoes of self-guided, innovative R&B songwriters like Prince, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Erykah Badu and R. Kelly and his way of writing melodies that hover between speech and song, asymmetrical and syncopated.