There aren’t many things better than discovering a new artist whose music you instantly connect with. Whether they’re touring the nation making their name or supporting big acts globally, we’re here to put a spotlight on the musically-gifted people with a bright future ahead of them. This week, we’re introducing you to French-born, South London-raised rapper, Octavian.
For Fans Of: AJ Tracey, Yungen, Kojo Funds
Essential Listening: 'Party Here' and 'Little'
If 2019 is going to be the year for anyone, it's going to be Octavian.
Only a matter of years ago, the young rapper found himself out on the streets with little money and even less direction for his life. Well now he’s just been crowned the BBC Sound of 2019! Being the first rapper to take the top spot since 50 Cent in 2003, it’s safe to say things have changed somewhat.
Born in France but raised in South London, he first announced himself to the world at the tail-end of 2017, with his debut single, ‘Party Here’. It's the single that started everything. Raking in 4.5 million streams on Spotify and even getting the nod from Drake in that video, it has carved a pathway for him to follow and proved that the music was worth it.
Though he dropped out from BRIT school as a teenager, he took the basics of what he learned while he was there and pursued in finding his sound. Alongside production from his close-knit Essie Gang, Octavian has managed to bring together a multitude of genres to create an outstanding and completely unique vibe that is the reason for his quick success. Though he fits in effortlessly with the UK underground rap and grime scene, he’s hit the current dancehall and afro-swing trend on the head and infused his songs with groove and soul. Flitting between snappy bars and smooth vocal lines, his lyrics of life struggles and drug dealing are almost breezed over with an energy that forces the listener to dance.
In the year since he released ‘Party Here’, Octavian put his head down and gave everything he had to create his debut mixtape, Spaceman, which was released back in September. Receiving praise across the board, with Pitchfork calling it “the ultimate hybrid mixtape”, it's a collection of work that lays Octavian’s mind bare and proves exactly why he’s become one of the most interesting voices in music.
There’s no denying that UK grime is the most popular it ever has been right now, with a wealth of rappers taking their shot at stardom, but Octavian is a soul from another world, who has a galactic career ahead of him. As we look towards 2019 with bright eyes and big hopes, Octavian is already planning his next moves and whatever they may be, it’s guaranteed that you won’t have ever seen anything like it before.
Want to experience the year's biggest star in action? He's on tour throughout February and March:
O2 Forum Kentish Town: Thursday 28 February - SOLD OUT O2 Academy Birmingham: Saturday 2 March - SOLD OUT
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