Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 Essential Albums by LGBTQ Artists, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Considering that the qualifier “LGBTQ” can often be open to various interpretations, for the purposes of this particular list, we have defined an artist as LGBTQ if he, she or they have ever publicly identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer. Moreover, albums by groups have been included in the list if any of their members fit the aforementioned criteria, even if some members do not.
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FRANK OCEAN | Channel Orange
Def Jam (2012)
Selected by Quentin Harrison
An enterprising writer/producer for hire at the beginning of his métier, the man born Christopher Breaux and later reborn as the alternative R&B/hip-hop cipher Frank Ocean mesmerized critics and listeners alike with his lauded mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra (2011). When his first album Channel Orange appeared the following year, it kept on in the same vein of Nostalgia, Ultra.
Hidden among the avant-garde entries of Channel Orange are the heart-rending tracks “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You” and “Forrest Gump” that allude to a same-sex relationship Ocean had been involved in. These tracks sparked a fevered conversation in hip-hop and beyond about LGBTQ perspectives, especially those of the bisexual persuasion, having a proper platform.