Since her Destiny’s Child days, Beyoncé has sung lead on practically every song she’s worked on. But there’s one track out there she didn’t sing lead on and instead took the role of background singer.
Do you know which song that is? We’ll give you a hint, it’s a well-known track off of Frank Ocean’s 2016 album, Blonde.
Beyoncé and Frank Ocean go way back
If there’s one person who knows a thing or two about songwriting, it’s Frank Ocean.
Long before Channel Orange and Blonde, or even before he started to earn notice for his work with the rap collective Odd Future, Ocean worked as a professional songwriter in Los Angeles, writing tracks for artists including Justin Bieber, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Brandy, and more.
In 2009, Ocean, whose real name is Christopher Edwin Breaux, signed a songwriting contract with Def Jam Records where he recorded his first mixtape which would soon skyrocket his career.
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On February 16, 2011, Ocean self-released his debut mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, which received critical acclaim due to its unique R&B aesthetic, surreal themes, and nostalgic lyrics.
It didn’t take long for the mixtape to become widely known by big-name artists like Kanye West and Jay-Z, who were itching to work with Ocean.
Even Beyoncé became an instant fan of Ocean’s sound and immediately reached out to the songwriter to collaborate on a song after hearing his mixtape.
“Jay had a CD playing in the car one Sunday when we were driving to Brooklyn,” Beyoncé recalled during an interview with Complex (via Rolling Stone). That was her first encounter with Ocean’s music.
“I noticed his tone, his arrangements, and his storytelling,” she said. “I immediately reached out to him – literally the next morning. I asked him to fly to New York and work on my record.”
Bey went on to record Ocean’s track “I Miss You” for her 4 album.
Two years later, the musicians joined forces again when Ocean lent his vocals to Beyoncé’s song “Superpower” from her self-titled 2013 surprise visual album.
Beyoncé lent her vocals to Frank Ocean’s “Pink + White”
A day after Ocean’s contract with Def Jam Records ended, he released his highly anticipated second studio album Blonde. While the tracklist included 17 well-crafted songs, the singer didn’t tackle the project alone.
Instead, Ocean enlisted the help of multiple artists, both big-name and under-the-radar, to bring his vision to life. Not only did artists like Pharrell, Tyler, The Creator, Kanye West, and The Beatles, contribute to Blonde, but The Queen Bey herself also helped make Ocean’s album a work of art.
In the song “Pink + White,” Bey’s lends her angelic vocals as she takes on the role of background singer, belting out the line “Take it easy” and later harmonizing with Ocean.
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Though the track was a sweet-sounding love song, it borrowed a little something from each of Bey and Ocean’s past collaborations.
Taking the slow-tempo R&B feel of “Superpower” and the longing lyrics of “I Miss You,” Ocean delivered a masterpiece with “Pink + White,” proving once again that he and Bey are ideal collaborators.