Did Ya’ll Peep The Frank Ocean References 'Insecure' Season 2 Dropped in Every Episode?

BY: AYA ELAMROUSSI

When Issa Rae said, “I’m rooting for everybody black” at the 69th Emmy Awards, we were a little shook. But we should’ve seen it coming. Rae’s work on HBO’s “Insecure” already shows that through her allusions to black artists.

“Insecure” season two is packed with hella references to Frank Ocean. It seems like his poetic lyrics have gotten to Issa Rae. Every episode of the second season integrates lines of Ocean’s lyricism into the dialogue so seamlessly that only real Frank Ocean fans were able to peep them. Reddit and Complex were the first sites to put the spotlight on Ocean’s lyrics disguised as dialogue.

Ep. 1: "Hella Great"

The first reference to Ocean is to the poetic artist himself. Lawrence goes over to Issa’s place to pick up his mail and some of the things he left at her apartment. He looks at the couch, and he notices the pillow with Ocean’s face on it is missing. So he asks Issa about it:

"What happened to Frank Ocean?"
"The pillow? Oh, it must have disappeared."
"You spilled something on it."
"Wine... and tapatio."

Ep. 2: "Hella Questions"

Issa’s friend, Kelli, finds out that Lawrence is seeing Tasha, the bank teller who was flirting with him hardcore in season one. After seeing Tasha’s pictures, Kelli says, “It looks like she's working at the Pyramid tonight." Here, Kelli comes at Tasha’s life with a line from Ocean’s “Pyramids,” the 10-minute, prose-like track from his first album, “Channel ORANGE” that debuted in 2012.

“She’s working at the pyramid tonight
Working at the pyramid
Working at the pyramid tonight.”

Ep. 3: "Hella Open"

If you didn’t catch the Frank Ocean references by now, episode three makes the producers’ intentions pretty clear. Molly’s maybe-so perfect bae, Randall, is on a date with her when he tells her, “I’ve got to tell you how much I vibe with you.” Randall attempts to serenade Molly with a lyric from Ocean’s “Solo,” a two-song track from “Blonde.”

“Forgot to tell you, gotta tell you how much I vibe with you
And we don’t gotta be solo.”

Ep. 4: "Hella L.A."

Another romantic figure hits Molly with an Ocean lyric. If you didn’t catch this one, it’s okay. It was really subtle. When Dro and Molly start getting touchy at the Kiss 'n' Grind party, they start reminiscing about their history together. Dro says to her, “My waves wouldn’t dip back then,” which is a direct line from Ocean’s “Ivy” from “Blonde”:

“No matter what I did
My waves wouldn’t dip back then
Everything sucked back then
We were friends.”

This episode features another more obvious Ocean reference. During Lawrence’s thresome with two girls who fetishize his Blackness, one of them screams, “F*ck me good, f*ck me long, f*ck me numb,” which is a line from Ocean’s 2011 single, “Novacane”:

“Fuck me good, fuck me long, fuck me numb
Love me now, when I’m gone, love me none.”

Ep. 5: "Hella Shook"

Molly is having a conversation with Dro when she admits to him, “I’ve been thinkin ‘bout you,” the same way Ocean was thinking about his first love when he wrote “Thinkin ‘Bout You”:

“I’m thinkin' ‘bout you (Ooh no, no, no)
I’ve been thinkin’ bout you (You know, know, know)
I’ve been thinkin' bout you, do you think about me still?
Do ya, do ya?”

Ep. 6: "Hella Blows"

“Hella Blows” brings us to one of my favorite allusions. Issa feels a way when one of her Tinder dates, Nico, messes with her “hotation.” Nico wants to get to know her and actually talk to her instead of just having sex right away. But that’s not working for Issa. So she vents about this to Molly and tells her how she’s going to deal with this: “I'ma tell him, 'Shut the f*ck up, I don't want your conversation—get in my lineup.’" Here, Issa alludes to a lyric from "Nights," also from “Blonde”:

“Shut the f*ck up I don’t want your conversation
Rolling marijuana that’s a cheap vacation.”

Ep. 7: "Hella Disrespectful"

Issa finally comes to terms with a mistake at work that caused tension between her and one of her co-workers for most of the season. When she apologizes, Issa says that she was “lost in the heat of it all,” which is a lyric from “Lost” on “Channel ORANGE”:

“Now you're lost
Lost in the heat of it all
Girl you know you're lost
Lost in the thrill of it all.”

Ep. 8: "Hella Perspective"  

The finale wraps up the season with two Frank Ocean references. When Molly says, “too many bottles of wine we can’t pronounce,” she alludes to the opening of Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids” from “Channel ORANGE”:

“Too many bottles of this wine we can’t pronounce
Too many bowls of that green, no Lucky Charms
The maids come around too much
Parents ain’t around enough.”

Ocean’s 2017 solo single “Biking,” finishes off the season. The song plays as Issa heads to Daniel’s place to crash on his couch because rent became too expensive for her.

Season two isn’t the first to allude to an artist’s lyrical work. Issa Rae told Rolling Stone that Drake influenced  season one with his lyrics as well.

“We have a Drake lyric in every episode as an Easter egg," Rae revealed to Rolling Stone. "His music has literally been a soundtrack to some of the best moments in my life.” But Rae also said that she intends on incorporating diverse artists so viewers can relate to their soundtracks.

Can you guess who will be the next artist to be low-key, or high-key, featured in “Insecure?” Tell us in the comments.

Featured photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash