In The Eye, music’s most intriguing up-and-coming artists take to an intimate and sparse studio space to perform their best songs with just one microphone and one take. Next up is somebody whose music you’ve almost certainly heard before: Masked Wolf.
The Greek-Australian rapper is best known for “Astronaut In The Ocean,” which he originally released in the summer of 2019 and which saw some success in Australia at the time. The track blew up on a global scale, though, when it started gaining traction on TikTok in late 2020 and was subsequently re-released by Masked Wolf’s new label, Elektra, in January of this year. The track was more than a passing fad: In TikTok’s recently shared slew of year-end data, it was revealed that the song was the platform’s most popular track of 2021 worldwide, beating out hits by artists like The Kid Laroi, Megan Thee Stallion, and Cardi B. Furthermore, it ended up rising to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Since “Astronaut In The Ocean” took off, Masked Wolf has been able to leverage the success into some big-time collaborations: His recently released singles include the X Ambassadors-featuring “Razor’s Edge” and the Bebe Rexha collaboration “It’s You, Not Me (Sabotage).”
Now, he finds himself in The Eye. While most artists in this setting tend to strip down their songs to the core elements, Masked Wolf instead kept the full instrumentation intact for “Astronaut In The Ocean,” which, as the original song does, allowed the rapper to flex his verbal dexterity with his rhythmic and often rapid-fire lines.
He took the same approach for the other two songs he performed, “Pandemonium” and “Paper Planes,” a couple of album tracks from Astronomical, which was just released back in September. While “Pandemonium” has a swaggering and aggressive tone, “Paper Planes” is a more vulnerable and less in-your-face tune in which Masked Wolf gets candid about his struggles with depression. All in all, the three performances show that the rapper is capable of more than just his one massive hit.
In an interview with The Eye, Masked Wolf explained why he thinks his debut single “Speed Racer” was a “breakout” moment for him and how it led to “Astronaut In The Ocean,” saying, “It was really where I found a way to describe what I’m talking about in a song, have an actual storyline of what I wanted to speak about. The most important part was the listeners being able to grab that, not about me just writing it. And then from that, ‘Astronaut In The Ocean’ came, and that’s when I started writing and rapping at the mic with a story and imagery.”
Watch Masked Wolf perform “Astronaut In The Ocean,” “Pandemonium,” and “Paper Planes” for The Eye above.
Masked Wolf is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.