'Insecure' Has Been Subtly Slipping Frank Ocean Lyrics Into Season 2


Never thought I would write this, but thank God for Reddit. The site is perfect for digging around for deep fan theories on Game of Thrones, and a place where hypebeasts go for underground fashion scoops. This time, Reddit is shining a light on a very sneaky pattern currently unfurling on HBO's Insecure. Season 2 has been interesting for many reasons—mostly the messy ass relationships that dominate the screen each Sunday. But a few Redditors have pointed out something even more interesting than Molly getting piped down by a married man: Frank Ocean references.

Since late July, Redditors ​no_potion, plantlover3, and sparkleheartemoji have been spotting tiny clues that point to a deliberate plan to include Frank Ocean into each episode of the season. Between their knowledge and our own research, we were able to identify the moments that salute the revered singer-songwriter. 

"Hella Great"

In the season premiere, Lawrence visits Issa at their old apartment to pick up his mail and other left-behind items. On his way out, Lawrence notices that the Frank Ocean pillow that used to be on the couch isn't there anymore:

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

This is the first clue to the covert Frank tribute plan.

"Hella Questions"

In the second episode of Season 2, there's a quick scene that shows Issa picking up her phone, which is clad in a Frank Ocean case. Later that episode, Issa's hilarious friend Kelli is stalking Lawrence's rebound Tasha on social media. Slightly judgmental (or hella judgmental), Kelli comments, "It looks like she's working at the Pyramid tonight." It's a direct hat-tip to Frank's ambitious 10-minute track "Pyramids" from his debut album, Channel Orange.

"Hella Open"

The Frank mention from the third episode of the season comes from Molly's potential bae, Randall, played by Sterling K. Brown. In a scene with the two, Randall says, "I've got to tell you how much I vibe with you"—a lyric from "Solo," from last year's Blonde.

"Hella LA"

The Frank Ocean mention from episode four also involves a conversation with Molly. This time, she's reminiscing with childhood friend/part-time lover Dro about their past. Dro says, "My waves wouldn't dip back then," a quotation from Blonde's "Ivy." 

This episode featured a second mention: when the ever-gullible Lawrence ends up in a threesome, one of the girls he's hooking up with says, "Fuck me good, fuck me long, fuck me numb," which is a lyric from Frank's breakout 2011 song, "Novacane."

"Hella Shook"

In episode five, Molly and Dro are catching up again. "I've been thinking 'bout you," she tells him. It's a straight-forward nod to Frank's timeless jam, "Thinkin Bout You."

"Hella Blows"

In the most recent episode, Issa is talking to Molly about her "ho-tation," when she mentions Nico, one of the dudes in her circle. Issa explains how she wants their next conversation to go: "I'ma tell him, 'Shut the fuck up, I don't want your conversation—get in my lineup.'" The first part of that imaginary conversation is a lyric from "Nights," also from Blonde.

And that brings us up to speed thus far. The team behind Insecure pulled this off last season too—with Drake. The show's creator Issa Rae told Rolling Stone about the trick in an interview last October. "We have a Drake lyric in every episode as an Easter egg," Rae said. "That was a personal thing for me, but that's not something that we bang you over the head with." 

Drake was mentioned in passing in the pilot episode, like Frank's brief mention in the Season 2 premiere. During a conversation with Issa, Daniel says, “Every black girl that went to college likes Drake,” to which Issa replies, “He just really gets us!” After that, episodes two through eight of the show feature lyrics from early Drake cuts like Thank Me Later's "Fancy," and more recent joints like "Pop Style," "Redemption," and "Faithful" from Views. You can peep the full rundown here via pop culture blog Fresh Pair of IIs.

There are two episodes left in Season 2—I know, how did this come up so fast? In any case, keep your ears open for the next lyric drop.

Show TranscriptHide Transcript


What’s up guys, Frazier here for Complex News. One of many reasons that we hold Frank Ocean to such a high standard is his extraordinary songwriting. The man doesn’t waste a line; indeed some of his songs have so much narrative and prose you’d think you were reading a book. With his novelistic, Bret Easton Ellis level lines packed with relatable insights into relationships and emotions, it technically shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Insecure writers room has been slyly incorporating Frank bars into each season 2 script. But still, wow, what an amazing easter egg.


That’s right: there’s been a Frank reference in all six of the episodes so far this season. Allow me to point them out for you.


Hella Great, episode 1


The premiere coyly lets viewers in on the plan when Lawrence makes a pointed reference to the missing Frank Ocean pillow in what used to be his and Issa’s apartment. Right before THAT scene.


Hella Questions, episode 2


In one of the season’s most memorable laugh-out-loud moments, while Issa and her friends are IG stalking Tasha after finding out she’s who Lawrence has been, series Mvp Kelli’s commentary for one pic is “It looks like she’s working at the Pyramid tonight.” Amazing use of a classic song as shade.


Hella Open, episode 3


When ya man Chris Darden is shooting his shot at Molly, he drops a line from “Solo” on her: “I’ve got to tell you how much I vibe with you.” Slick, bro.


Hella LA, episode 4


When Molly is reminiscing with Dro, he says “My waves wouldn’t dip back then,” which you’ll remember, is one of the standout lines in “Ivy.”


There’s another in episode 4 as well: during Lawrence’s 3some, one of the Get Out girls he’s hooking up with says “Fuck me good, fuck me long, fuck me numb,” which is of course, from Frank’s breakout “Novacane.”


Hella Shook, episode 5


This one’s a little too on the nose. When Molly and Dro are catching up she tells him, she’s been thinking about him. Which, duh.


Hella Blows, episode 6


In the most recent episode when Issa’s talking about how explicit she wants her next date with Nico to go she says “I’ma tell him shut the fuck up I don’t want your conversation-get in my lineup.” Someone’s been listening to too much “Nights”.


This isn’t the first time the Insecure team has had some fun. As you’ve probably noticed, each season the characters are watching a fictional, totally ridiculous series-last year was Conjugal Visits, a reality series about...well, what the title says. And this year has been Due North, a ridiculous plantation love story featuring Regina Hall and Scott Foley.


But they did the lyric thing as well, starting again with a premiere nod. Remember when Daniel says every black girl who went to college loves Drake in the pilot? Well every episode after had, you guessed it, a Drake lyric.


So, keep your ears peeled for the Frank references in the last two remaining episodes of the season as Issa Molly and Lawrences lives get inevitably messier. Which artist should they go with for season 3? THat’s the news for now but for more on Insecure, Frank Ocean and Issa Rae subscribe to Complex News today.

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