If 2015 was practice, then early 2016 marked Jazz Cartier’s speedy and well-earned rise to rap royalty. By living up to the hype of being billed as "Toronto's first post-Drake rapper" (Pitchfork) - carried over from the release of his 2015 debut Marauding in Paradise - the major music industry accolades have continued to pour in at a furious rate with the release of his sophomore mixtape Hotel Paranoia.
Jazz’s new 16-song recording led to him being anointed Toronto hip hop’s “Prince of the City” by Canada’s largest weekly newspaper Now in a much talked about cover story and the number one ranked “Canadian artist you should know” in NYC-based hip hop bible XXL Magazine. Furthermore, Jazz was named “the best of the new music scene” by Apple Beats 1 Radio, and the mixtape has been voted as one of the Best Albums of 2016 so far by a flurry of notable blog sites, including Complex and Pigeons & Planes (“Hotel Paranoia is stacked with hit after hit…there are no filler tracks here”).
The first quarter of 2016 also marked the first stage of Jazz Cartier’s quest for global rap supremacy, beginning with Europe. Despite having toured Europe for only his second time, Jazz was hailed by London’s legendary NME as one of “five acts spearheading the Canadian music scene right now” across music genres, when he was not being altogether praised by London style bible i-D Magazine as “Toronto’s next big hip-hop hero.” His newfound worldwide appeal has unconsciously reflected in his own artistic output too, as he opted to shoot his “Opera” video in Venice, Italy. Despite proclaiming that he is “the new face of the country” on the track, the video makes clear that he is dead set on becoming Canada’s next big export not just throughout North America, but worldwide.
Some might argue that the stage was set at his unrivalled coming-out party in New York in February, highlighted by a sold-out Hotel Paranoia mixtape release concert at the legendary SOB’s – a major feat considering he has not been co-signed by any other music acts and his two mixtapes have no noteworthy features – that clearly cemented his Next Big Thing status. Immediately following the still talked about performance, Billboard Magazine’s concert review headline beamed: “Toronto Rapper Jazz Cartier Conquers New York With a Big-Time Performance at S.O.B.'s,” a notable feat considering the legendary venue was where contemporary rap dons Drake and Kanye West carried out this near identical feat during their blow up phase.
What ultimately separated Jazz from the pack of top-tier rap upstarts in 2016 was his live show, which magically captures, if not surpasses, the energy of his mixtapes. After being handpicked to play buzzworthy concerts including the global House of Vans 50th Anniversary concert series, which saw him headline the Toronto March 16th date (while Nas simultaneously played Brooklyn, Wu Tang Clan did Mexico City, and Erykah Badu played, Austin Texas), it was just a warm-up for his eventual SXSW coronation as one of rap’s next superstars. Capping it off with a wild Fader Fort set on his birthday, hands down, Jazz left the festival as one of the most talked about and memorable debut acts at SXSW, highlighted by his high wire set at the Illmore, which ultimately led to him being titled as one of The Fader’s “Top 54 Things Seen at SXSW.”
Never content with resting on his laurels, and with his sights firmly set on pushing envelopes, Jazz recently set the music video world on fire in May with the release of his pioneering VR / 360 degree two-in-one “Red Alert” / “100 Roses” visual that earned him a new following amongst forward-thinking and emerging high tech millennial audiences looking to consume futuristic art.
The summer of 2016 sees Jazz setting his sights on even bigger game, having recently appeared on Grammy Award-nominated Wale’s Summer on Sunset June 2016 release mixtape, while getting set to release a collaborative single with renowned hip-hop producer Mike Will Made It (Beyonce, Rae Sremmurd, Rihanna). Jazz will also be bringing his highly-anticipated, live concert experience to a whole slew of major summer festivals that matter, including Lollapalooza, Osheaga and Austin City Limits, among many others.
After having already racked up a flurry of major award nominations this year based on the high artistic integrity of Hotel Paranoia and its accompanying video’s, including 1Heartradio MMVA’s (Much Music Video Awards), Polaris Prize, and SOCAN Songwriting Prize (Top 10 Canadian Song of the Year) despite not having yet released a full length album, and with singles from Hotel Paranoia, including “I Know” boasting over one million plays on Spotify, Jazz’s global rap music takeover is imminent.