Octavian’s 14-track mixtape Spaceman was finally released last month and the South-East London raised rapper has once again set himself apart from the crowd, demonstrating his ability to transcend generic restrictions. After his first time in Bristol performing at Love Saves The Day back in May, Octavian returned for Simple Things festival.
His succession of singles earlier this year were evidence of his ability to amalgamate genres like dance, grime and hip hop so effortlessly. What defines Octavian is the difficulty produced by even attempting to pigeonhole him; what attracts audiences is the ease with which he can reflect the current diversity of London’s music scene. There is an overwhelming sense of independence asserted through his unpredictability as the French-born rapper continues to situate himself within the ever-growing backdrop of UK rap. Perhaps what we’re also seeing here is a blending of UK rap with influences from those across the pond as songs like ‘You See It’ are littered with ad libs that could easily belong on a Migos track.
But Octavian appears far more relatable due to his emotional honesty. He floats effortlessly between the emotive nod toward his struggles with his mother on the intro ‘Scared’ and the confrontation of crime and gangs in the lead single ‘Revenge’. Lyrics such as ‘Still ain’t seen my mum / This evil world changed me’ and ‘Big brother used to deal drugs but I was the evil one’ are alarmingly introspective, despite resonating with an audience that will simultaneously sing along to ‘If I buy a clart / I’ll shoot you in your face’.
Thinking back to watching him in the Paradiso tent at LSTD only one word comes to mind: energy. Though the word seems to be thrown around in relation to various artists and performances, there truly is no better way to describe him. Bouncing around the stage, songs such as the Drake-approved ‘Party Here’ sent waves of life through the packed out tent. If you haven’t checked him out yet, now is definitely the time. 2018 has been a successful year so far and it doesn’t seem like his climb to the top will be stopping anytime soon.
Emily Marie Gates