Frank Ocean’s “DHL” Lyrics Meaning
“DHL” is basically a braggadocio tune, Frank Ocean style. In other words, it features the overall themes common to such tracks by hip-hop artists.
For instance, Frank mentions his come-up and the fact that the financial issues which plagued him before are no longer a concern (as in he’s “rich as ****”). Also he alludes to the idea that he stays on the grind. And as such, material which others “think (is) new” has actually been part of his personal catalog (i.e. “old files”) for years. And at some points of the song it can even be interpreted that Ocean is threatening his opps.
But in terms of adding his own personal, innovative touch to the age-old successful rapper theme, this song has a very-strong element of gay flavor in it. In fact quite a few lines seem to be explicitly dedicated to Ocean receiving a kind of intimate act from, at least in the second verse in particular, his “boy toy”. Or another way of looking at it is that just as rappers tend to portray females as sensual objects in their tracks, Ocean is doing the same in “DHL”. However, in his case it’s with another guy(s).
Meaning of “DHL”
And as far as the title itself, “DHL” is a popular international shipping company. In the chorus, Frank states that he received a package (i.e. delivery) from them. And the insinuation is that it contained “a pill”. This can be a reference to quite a different number of items. But logically it would indeed be some kind of pharmaceutical or perhaps even a substance frowned upon by the law. Indeed the “pill” itself is associated “with Saturday night chill”, which may be an allusion to getting high.
But overall, what the “pill” is specifically really isn’t the point. Rather the whole presentation just fits into the overall motif of Ocean portraying himself as a rich, successful rude boy if you will. Or put differently, this track comes off like a mainstream hip-hop freestyle. And as such references to money, violence, sensual affairs, violence, etc. are to be expected.
Quick Facts about “DHL”
The first genuine teasing of this song dates back to December of 2018.
Frank Ocean wrote “DHL” and also contributed to the production of the track alongside Boys Noize.
In addition to Ocean, a total of five other songwriters contributed writing to “DHL”, including members of Aurra. Aurra was a renowned soul group who were very active in the 1980s.
And the song was released on 19 October 2019 by Frank’s own label, “Blonded”. Upon it’s release, “DHL” became the first single Ocean released in 2019.
This is one of Ocean’s most prominent tracks. And accordingly, it charted in multiple countries. For example, in the United States, it managed to make it into the Hot 100, peaking at the 98th position. In Britain, it performed better, reaching number 67 there. Furthermore, it made it into the top 100 in both Canada and Ireland. But New Zealand was where the song performed best. It reached number 2 there.
“DHL” is rife with bad language. It is therefore not a family friendly track. It actually is one of Ocean’s most explicit tracks.
According to Ocean, he is a big fan of receiving packages via DHL, FedEX, etc. It is therefore obvious that is what inspired the title of this track. That being said, some believe this is just a song Ocean made to promote the DHL brand. They see it as nothing more than a song with product placement.
On which Ocean album does this tune appear?
When it was released, it wasn’t associated with any album. However, it is likely it will appear on the third studio album of Ocean’s career. It is believed that said album will also feature two of Ocean’s 2020 hits(“Dear April” and “Cayendo“).