Jazz Cartier | Buzz Me­ter

Exclaim! - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Ri­ley Wal­lace

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.

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