Emerging from the burgeoning south London underground, Octavian’s 2017 breakout track, Party Here, combined style and substance. Infusing grime with singrap cadences and trap signifiers, the French-born Oliver Godji partied in the face of adversity. Drake was swift with an endorsement. Since then, there’s been mounting hype and a great hook-up with Mura Masa, Move Me, emphasising Octavian’s more danceable side.
Spaceman is Octavian’s first fulllength project, pivoting the MC back to grime. Its lead track, Revenge, makes the case that vengeance is a dish best served sullenly, with amped up Stateside influences. A litany of icy threats, Break That (ft Suspect) doesn’t advance the genre much, but like much of this mixtape it does remind his original fanbase that Octavian is a threat as well as a hedonist street philosopher.
One of his most seductive characteristics is a matter-of-fact bittersweetness; self-reliance and mummy issues loom large for a young man who left home at 14, as This Is My World attests. “Happiness is an inside job,” he muses on Build. The standout track here, Lightning, is another wistful banger with a firm grip on the heartstrings; more of this sure touch would have shot Spaceman higher. Kitty Empire