By Melissa Fares

NEW YORK (Reuters) - After much anticipation, influential R&B artist Frank Ocean has made waves with the unveiling of "Endless," a new visual album, his first in four years.

Twitter went wild after the album's release late Thursday, with users tweeting about the New Orleans native roughly 100 times per minute, according to social media analytics firm Zoomph.

Ocean, 28, previously promised that the long-awaited album would drop in July 2015 under the name of "Boys Don't Cry" in a Tumblr post in April 2015. Earlier this month, the New York Times said the album would be released on August 5.


A tweet from the official account of Apple Music (@AppleMusic) announcing the debut of Ocean's work on Thursday, received more than 21,000 likes and more than 22,000 retweets.

Ocean's first album, titled "Channel Orange," earned him two Grammy awards.

Ocean, whose work fuses hip hop, soul and R&B with social commentary, is regarded as having redefined contemporary R&B. Prior to his debut album's release in 2012, Ocean publicly revealed his first love was a man, an unheard of move at the time for a hip-hop artist.

The 45-minute "Endless" album, available for streaming on his site and on Apple Music , features 12 new songs and interludes over black-and-white video footage of Ocean building a staircase in what appears to be a warehouse.

(Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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