Jazz Cartier | Buzz Meter
TORONTO RAPPER JAZZ CARTIER IS, IN MANY WAYS, AN ANOMALY ON THE CANADIAN SCENE. The Juno Award winner has been a name that’s been ringing bells with an undeniable air of excitement, but without a significant single or larger-than-life collaboration dominating charts south of the border — like counterparts Drake and Tory Lanez — he has remained endearingly homegrown. Leading up to July’s release of Fleurever, that has seemed to suit the rapper just fine. For him, it’s bigger than overnight fame.
“I’m doing it for the sake of my well-being,” he says. “This is my therapy.” With buzz at a fever pitch following his critically acclaimed Hotel Paranoia, he was thrust into the hot seat as Toronto’s next breakout star — a distinction his latest LP only bolsters further. While a lack of mainstream pandering and fierce loyalty to Cancon may seem like qualities that would hinder his success outside of Canadian borders, he’s remained on the tongues of outlets and tastemakers in the know for the past few years.
While Fleurever, officially his debut major label project, is serving as a proper introduction of Cartier to a broader audience that may have once slept on him, it’s more significantly setting the bar — and redrawing the blueprint — for a new generation of dynamic artists from his hometown.
“I do feel like what I’m doing is important,” he says. “Everybody really wants to live in somebody’s shadow in the hopes that they’ll become as big as somebody else, and it doesn’t always happen like that.” Jazz also notes that, while he has major songs with big artists in the stash, he’s chosen to keep the focus on himself, and his journey. “I’m not trying to be Mr. Big Shot, because the faster it comes, the quicker it goes. I’m [ just] enjoying this process that I’m going through right now.”
Though his single “Tempted” — which appears on Fleurever — has afforded him ballooning mainstream exposure, his intent to remain an artist true to himself, without the need to make U.S. moves to gain the trust of Canadian listeners, is impressively avant-garde for an artist in his position. Anyone who has been a fan since 2015’s Marauding in Paradise can see the organic growth he’s experienced as a person, let alone a musician. When the smoke clears, nobody can say he did it any way other than his own.