By Josh Weiner
Outside of shining star Drake, Toronto’s hip-hop scene has had limited exposure within the American mainstream. Looking to reverse that trend is Jazz Cartier, “one of Toronto’s biggest rising stars.” His steady stream of mixtapes since 2015 have been infused with clever wordplay and intricate instrumentals, which draw upon the many regions where the rapper has lived and traveled.
Born in Toronto in 1993, Jaye Adams changed homes several times while growing up, spending time in Kuwait, Barbados, and various parts of the Northeast United States. He made his way back home in his late teenage years to pursue his passion for music. After aligning with post-trap beatmaker Michael Lantz– whom Complex has recognized as one of the standout producers in Toronto– Jazz Cartier spent the next several years working on his debut mixtape, recrafting the record several times until he was satisfied.
What finally emerged in 2015 has been described as “a compilation of four years of carefully constructed/deconstructed/reconstructed material disguised as a free mixtape.” Marauding in Paradise makes for a solid 16-track listen, with standouts like “Guardian Angel” candidly addressing the ups and downs he has gone through (“My life been a flight with a lot of delays,” as he explains). His storytelling abilities earned praise from Pitchfork Magazine, who applauded “Switch” and “The Downtown Cliché” for portraying Toronto as “more Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness than ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home.’”
One year after Marauding in Paradise came Hotel Paranoia, the follow-up mixtape featuring more energetic records like “Red Alert” and “100 Roses.” Both of these were combined into an impressive 360° virtual reality music video. Jazz Cartier’s third roll of the dice comes in the form of the to-be-released Fleurever, based off of his alternative pseudonym, “Jacuzzi La Fleur.” The album’s release date is still unknown but a music video for the lead single,“Right Now,” dropped earlier this month.
All of these musical efforts have garnered attention and acclaim across his home nation.
Jazz Cartier has performed in a number of notable Canadian venues, such as the Osheaga Festival in Montreal, and has earned nominations for a good number of Canadian musical awards, including the Juno Awards, the Polaris Music Prize and the SOCAN Songwriting Prize. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before his neighbors to the south (i.e. us Yanks) take notice.