In a time where everything happens on the internet, the hustle of touring the hell out of an album until clubs, college campuses and festivals all over the world are screaming your name, is being lost.
It’s increasingly easy for number-crunching record executives to pick out songs with the right catchphrases, manufacture meme-worthy videos and rake in the big bucks. Making it in the Big Leagues is more about catching on through a series of algorithms, than dedicating blood, sweat and tears to the stage night after night. But when these formulaic hit records are successful, it often leads to a disappointing dive bomb when the rapper with the biggest hit out right now can’t live up to the hype on stage.
Jazz Cartier isn’t afraid of laying the foundations. The 23-year-old Canadian rapper - real name Jaye Adams - has spent the past half-decade banking on the concept that slow and steady wins the race. He’s perfected his craft with a pair of mixtapes - 2015’s ‘Marauding In Paradise’ and last year’s ‘Hotel Paranoia’ - that don’t rely on any names other than his own (“I can do it better myself,” he boasts on ‘Stick & Move’). Along with go-to producer Michael Lantz, he’s created a unique sound and aesthetic; a blend of sublime gothic imagery, with cinematic soundscapes, contemporary trap music and a flair for the dramatic. And like the old guard of independent rappers, he’s more than happy to get his hands dirty, putting in work on stage and controlling crowds night after night.
“No matter how shit looks on the Internet, you still need to do the groundwork,” he advises, taking a rare day out at home as he prepares to hit the road again. “I feel like a lot of people skip that. They just want to post something on the Internet, get a million views and become overnight celebrities.” Last year the Toronto-native spent his Spring in Europe on a headlining tour, then played countless festivals across the summer, before joining Post Malone to spend most of his winter on a mammoth 41-date trip across the US.
And it’s not all about hitting the big cities either. Jazz is happy to take the opportunity to perform wherever there is an audience and regardless of how intimate. “You have to do shows where there’s like ten people in the room,” he enthuses. “Those people will be fans for life because you gave it your all and they appreciate that. Then they watch you grow and they feel like part of the movement.”