Octavian Endorphins Black Butter Records
In a recent interview with DJ Semtex, Octavian described how he felt London hadn’t accepted him as an artist. In LA, he said, they embraced weirdness, and it was why artists that made the city their home were more successful, citing Kanye as an example. His latest project, Endorphins, opens on a remarkably different sound: a heartfelt love song backed by a gospel choir, not sounding worlds away from the opening sequence of The Life of Pablo.
Octavian has always floated musically somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, and Endorphins similarly dances between styles. King Essie stomps along with the kind of choral progressions of early A$AP Rocky, while other cuts recall Travis Scott with Octavian’s Auto-Tuned throat vocals. But where Endorphins experiments with genre is where it’s most successful. The 80s-influenced Feel It (featuring Theophilus London), with its ghostly power ballad drums, is a highlight, whereas more forgettable cuts like Risking Our Lives lack the real grit of his 2018 SPACEMAN mixtape.
The interplanetary theme on Octavian’s last project was apt for a record that sounded alien, zooming out of UK rap’s boundaries into something far further afield. Following up that release was always going to be a tough task, and although Endorphins doesn’t quite hit the same highs, Octavian continues to carve out his own lane in global rap music.