Toronto is fast becoming a breeding ground for new music; The Weeknd, PARTYNEXTDOOR, of course Drake and now Jazz Cartier all hail from the unlikely new mecca. Jazz Cartier’s buzz has been building since last year, but he’s been creating his debut mixtape for four years. ‘Marauding In Paradise‘ is the perfect representation of where music is right now. Brash over confidence, with sing a long choruses over electro trap; coupled with heart on sleeve stories of relationships suffering under the weight of pursuing a dream.
Cartier appeared on the scene fully developed with single ‘Switch‘. The song is high energy and doesn’t conform to any trends. It is a bold statement and the perfect introduction to the rapper. The track however doesn’t speak to the cerebral moments Cartier can deliver on the mixtape; these are the moments that make it a success.
‘Guardian Angel‘ is the tapes intro, kicking off with a motivational speech and dropping into a bass heavy, swooning instrumental with no chorus. Cartier spits bars, no gimmicks, no singing, just an aggressive pursuit of success. The track breaks down into a more mellow sound and the tape continues to be a balance between the two.
Songs like ‘New Religion‘ perform their task of being anthemic and loud. While not ground breaking, the instrumental pushes electro trap to a more comfortable and commercial place than it’s ‘Yeezus‘ origins.
For all the tapes bluster, it’s the quieter moments that are the strongest. Braggadocios punchlines and endless boasts have their place, but 15 tracks of it would have become repetitive. ‘The Valley‘ is Cartier’s thoughts on his city and small town popularity. His personality comes through strongest and sets him apart from the competition.
‘Where should I start? Where should I start? The brain or the heart?’
There are many songs like this dotted around the tape, adding more depth to Cartier’s persona. Women aren’t objectified here and the tape also charts a relationship in its final stages as the rapper is struggling to deal with it. Through all the various sounds and mood changes, it’s all held together by producer Lantz. Lantz produces all but one of the mixtapes 15 tracks and manages to create a diverse soundscape that clings to Cartier’s strengths. The two have been working together for years and their relationship is evident. The changes never feel awkward as one moment blends perfectly into the next. Lantz is the secret weapon to this mixtape. He makes the project feel less like Jazz Cartier over Lantz beats and more like a collaboration between the two.
‘Marauding In Paradise‘ is the perfect introduction to Jazz Cartier. It details every facet of his persona and manages to maintain a strong pace throughout. The tape takes influence from everything that hip hop is now, while also fleshing out a lane of its own. Jazz Cartier fills his tape with hits and meaning in equal measure, resulting in one of the strongest debuts in years.