Album Review – Global Octopus’ ‘Animal Sounds’

The young Denton, Texas based duo that uses their soulful, poetic sound to bring back that old school vibe.

I’d like to start this post off by saying that I am thoroughly disappointed that these two guys live in Texas because they are dope as hell. I would love to see them in the Philly music scene. While their individual sounds resemble some of Hip-Hop’s greats, they come together to create some incredible music. Global Octopus is made up of two emcees, Jaize and Blackface Alien, or BFA for short. They met at the University of North Texas, getting their start by performing at local open mic nights. They progressed to open up for bigger name artists such as Futuristic, nobigdyl., and Mckinley Dixon.

I went on to shuffle their Spotify, not sure what to expect. The first song that played was called “Animal Sounds”, and I instantly loved their dedication to this animalistic theme. The song, which is the title song off of their albumhas beautiful, bright cover art to match their abstract themes while featuring a collage of scribbled animals. Blackface Alien starts out the song with a poetic monologue over a beautiful instrumental. The beat takes me back, and I instantly think of “Pop’s Rap”, which Common features in different variations on his albums. I got the same exact feeling when I heard their other track “In Da Wind”, and it really made me reminisce on how that album made me feel, with this specific production reminding me of The Dreamer The Believer. It was grown, far more mature than what I would have expected from a couple of guys in their twenties. And if you check out their personal social media pages, they’re weird as shit. In a great way. I’d be their friends. But by the 25-second mark, his flow picks up as the beat introduces some percussion. I was honestly taken aback at how much his flow made me think of a younger Andre 3000, both in his pronouncement and tone. But the best part was that it didn’t just sound good. The words he spoke had a lot of truth to them, and his line “if you tryna bust a nut how you gonna call her a slut” spoke to my little feminist heart. His lyrics spoke of respect and camaraderie, themes that are always uplifting to hear in a genre that can be extremely competitive. Jaize takes a much more relaxed approach to his sound, with his flow dragging on in a way that pulls you in, anticipating what he’ll say next. His flow reminds me of Biggie, and yet is so different from a lot of what I’ve heard. His natural imagery is absolutely gorgeous, making you think of a bright, sunny day. The theme is often alluded to throughout the song, and they do an amazing job of picking an idea and sticking with it. But my favorite is when the two rap together, showing the deep contrast between the two voices, and yet not taking away from how in sync they are. 

Their songs are packed with visual descriptions, allowing the beats to transport you as you picture everything they’re talking about. Their metaphors are political and relevant, using societal issues to relate to their own internal and personal struggles. Their raps are also just genuinely impressive, taking it beyond a traditional rap scheme and adopting one used by some of Hip-Hop’s greatest poets, rhyming more than just the last syllable.

“Grieve Today For Tomorrow” took me by a huge surprise. The song features the two singing, and their voices are gorgeous. The chorus is vivid, singing about anguish and the color grey, seeming synonymous in the way they compare the two. BFA takes on a very Noname flow, with every word pouring out so casually and yet so emotionally. Jaize sounds much more vulnerable, almost pleading with his listeners in a way that contrasts so much with their goofy Instagram pages. You can tell that they really put thought and effort into their lyrics and music, and use it as an escape.

“HER” took me to a much different place, reminding me of a newer school take on traditional Hip-Hop, in a way that’s young and youthful but still honors the old sound. It’s full of story-telling, making me think about riding around during the summer, a pleasant thought while holed up in my bedroom. What I love about the two of them is that even in their more fun, energetic sounds, they still talk about women respectfully. Their lines about “getting too hot for the long sleeves, long tees” makes you picture seasons literally changing, in a time-lapse sort of way, making the song feel otherworldly. That paired with the ethereal beat creates an amazing universe to take you to.

“Snoopy” starts out with an incredible introduction, fading into a real heavy-hitting beat with some intricate percussion that I love. BFA hits every beat, adapting his style to match the rhythm. I was curious to see how Jaize would hold up against the beat because of his slowed-down style, but he held his own. In my opinion, this song showcases their versatility the most, not necessarily in terms of beats, but in terms of their rhythmic flows as well. You can tell that the two of them have a really strong sense of musicality, and it’s really impressive to hear.

I found myself listening to their whole album, impressed by their lyrics and chemistry. I asked the two of them to write a little bit about one another to get a deeper look into their relationship as artists.

“Freshman year of college, Jaize and I would talk philosophy and music before Global Octopus was even an idea. We bonded over mutual interest in existentialism and Nubjabes and when I decided I wanted to rap I knew he’d make a good partner. He already produced but it wasn’t even rap beats! It was weird electronic music but I liked that he thought outside the box. He’s definitely more melodic & easygoing which provides a nice contrast to my own style.”

—Blackface Alien on Jaize

“Caleb (BFA) is a force in the studio, constantly jumping from one good idea to the next. His energy can be described as intense and too robust for some, but it is impossible not to see the passion he carries for his craft. He is always trying to find a way for our tracks to pop out, and performing with BFA is a experience hard to replicate.”

—Jaize on Blackface Alien

I think these two are super talented. I really found myself enjoying their music, with their shared love for some of my favorite artists extremely prominent. They sound amazing together, and really dive deep into the culture that is Hip-Hop. I’m excited to see what else the two of them have in store because their music is far more refined than the recognition that they receive. Their conscious minds are engaging, and their thoughts are transparent. I’m rooting for these two.

Listed below is their full album, Animal Sounds, as well as their social media pages. Reach out to them and show them some love!

Spotify

Instagram

Facebook

Soundcloud

Twitter

Sponsored by Global Octopus.

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