Dead set on becoming Canada’s next big music export, Jazz Cartier spent the last half of 2016 “quickly establishing himself as one of the leaders of a new wave in hip-hop” (Noisey). Jazz’s musical output and impact on the North American rap scene in 2016 was in simple terms, dizzying. After performing over 100+ concert dates, including sold out European concert dates, and touring as a direct support act for Post Malone’s 41-date Hollywood Dream Tour, Jazz not only lived up to the high expectations placed on him – listed as the number one ranked “Canadian artist you should know” in NYCbased hip hop bible XXL Magazine early last year – but arguably surpassed them.
As a result, the 2016 year-end “Best Of” accolades poured in; from Forbes handpicking Jazz as “one of six hip hop artists to look out for in 2017” alongside Dave East and Russ, and Pigeons and Planes naming his mixtape Hotel Paranoia one of best albums of 2016, lauding the mixtape for being “stacked with hit after hit. There are no filler tracks here”, to ending the year with an Apple / Beats 1’s Zane Lowe world record premiere of “Tempted”, these honours emerged as a natural extension of Jazz having dropped numerous heat seeking singles throughout the year that caught the attention of some of North America’s most influential musicians and tastemakers.
Case in point. When Jazz released a clever “Lil’ Wayne” tribute song in July, the song moved Weezy so much that he called it his “new favorite song” and proceeded to share it with his 27 million twitter followers. Likewise, broadcast industry leaders such as Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg interviewed Jazz in person to get a bird’s eye view on why Toronto’s Got Next and how he ended up leading this new charge. Industry insiders often remark how these are major feats considering he has not been co-signed by any other major music acts and his two mixtapes have no noteworthy features.
Having landed three (3) separate cover stories in Canada’s largest daily (Toronto Star), weekly (Now Magazine) and monthly lifestyle magazines (Toronto Life fashion), Jazz left music, fashion and lifestyle aficionados in the fourth largest city in North America with little doubt as to why he is lovingly referred to as the Prince of the City. But it was the considerable traction Jazz gained amongst the various lifestyle, fashion and high end streetwear set that further separated him from the pack of buzzy young music upstarts.
Gen Now music consumers and fashion scenesters throughout North America revelled in Jazz’s look book appearances in an exclusive Nike / John Elliott collaboration for Lebron James Soldier X sneaker, all the way to clothing campaigns for popular US department store chain Nordstrom. While back home in Toronto, Jazz helped launch the fall Sweatstyle campaign with Roots Canada, one of the country’s premier active athletic wear clothiers.
After winning over a flurry of major US critics with his still talked about performance at S.O.B’s in New York in February 2016 (Billboard Magazine’s concert review headline beamed: “Toronto Rapper Jazz Cartier Conquers New York With a Big Time Performance at S.O.B.'s), Jazz spent much of the rest of 2016 mastering his unique take-no-prisoners approach to live shows which clearly separates his music set from the pack of most rap shows, and has increased his booking fee nearly 10 times in a one year span (Forbes). And that meant dozens of mosh pits, swinging upside down from more ceiling fans, and more bruises. His “unpredictable and thrilling theatrics” (Red Bull) hit their mark at his Lollapalooza festival debut, where he pulled out his full-on rap daredevil act climbing up some incredibly high stage scaffolding which thrilled fest goers and further propels new fans to buy his concert tickets are a furious rate. No surprise, considering Jazz left this years SXSW festival as one of the most talked about and memorable debut acts at SXSW, highlighted by his high wire set at the Illmore / Fader Fort, and featured in The Fader’s “Top 54 Things Seen at SXSW.”
Never content with resting on his laurels, and always keeping his sights firmly set on pushing new artistic and technological envelopes, Jazz plans to continue to stretch the bounds of technology further in 2017 as he did last year with the release of his pioneering 3D VR video “Red Alert / 100 Roses” video. With his recent participation and performance at the world renowned ComplexCon Festival that offered attendees a glimpse into the future of music, film and art, those lucky enough to catch his set caught a quick glimpse into his zeitgeist-altering music.
Early 2017 sees Jazz heading out to Europe for a string of tour dates in February to meet the growing audience demand on that continent. Hailed last year by London’s legendary NME as one of “five acts spearheading the Canadian music scene right now” across music genres, this tour already marks the fourth time he has toured the region in his nascent career. This year Jazz will also launch a concentrated audio assault on US commercial airwaves, beginning with his new single “Tempted” which has already charted on Spotify’s global Top 50 Viral chart. With a forthcoming collaborative single featuring production from renowned Atlanta-based producer Mike Will Made It – who’s helmed hit singles for everyone from Rae Sremmurd and Rihanna, to Beyoncé’s 2017 Grammy Award nominated single “Formation” - slated to drop this year, Jazz Cartier’s buzz will remain Fleurever.