ENDORPHINS (OCTAVIAN)

RELEASED 13TH JUNE 2019

Favourite Track: King Essie

I didn’t know what to expect but it was a varied album with some great production, especially when it came to the backing instrumentals and synths which actually worked so well with the vocals and rapping

The only words that come to mind when I saw the cover art to winner of the BBC Sound 2019 award, London rapper, Octavian’s, Endorphins was “this kind of album artwork that looked similar to Tyga’s album covers where I have to ask myself…is this really artistic?” I guess what it showed was a kind of warped combination of hidden identity, sex, and graffiti. I didn’t know what to make of it but that’s what came to mind. His work is a combination of RnB, Grime and Dancehall and it’s very interesting to listen to BECAUSE of the various elements that make it up.      

Image credit: Hypebeast

The opening track ‘Gangster Love’ opened with a choral backing with some vocals over it. It was very gospel sounding with the chord progression which I didn’t at all expect. The last few seconds of the song turned into more of a siren sounding synth fading out which was weird but maybe it’s telling a story combining church and gangster life. Who knows? The next song ‘King Essie’ has a good beat and GREAT synths, I really likes the production of this. I have to say the vocal work here is kind of slow but it works. ‘Molly Go Down’ wasn’t really a favourite of mine. The beat was ok, I liked the soft piano style synth instrument in the background but the song itself wasn’t overwhelmingly good.

‘Take It Easy’ featuring Smokepurpp wasn’t bad. There was more attack in this song with a hard beat and good backing instrumentals (one sounding kinda like bells) with faster paced rapping. This one would be quite good for a house party. ‘Bet’ was one I remember listening to at a pre-drinks party. The song, featuring Skepta and Michael Phantom, is already a popular tune. ‘Feel It’, featuring Theophilus London, has a very 80s feel to it especially with the drum fill, making it one of the dancier songs of the album. It mixes like modern rap song content with retro music production.    

‘Risking Our Lives’ isn’t bad either. The beat is good and the lyrics are all about taking drugs, kind of linking to the effect of the album cover but other than that, I don’t have much more to say on this song. ‘No Weakness’ is a strange ambient song with synths again and a strong beat with lots of echo. I liked this one for sure as well as ‘World’ which again, has that echo and dancy vibe to it. ‘Walking Alone’ has a very Dancehall sound to it, as much of the album does, with the quirky electronic sounding production and heavy bass and beats. It’s something you can move to for sure. ‘My Head’ was another song with a lot of attack. This one had very heavy bass lines and vocals from ABRA in a distorted tone which made this have an edge to it. The last song on the album ‘Lit’ featuring A$AP Ferg had a good beat, nice backing music and good rapping. It was a decent end to the album.      

I can actually imagine this album being used in a weird dystopian style film with some extra-terrestrial or futuristic influences. I’d watch it.