Show & Prove
For Jazz Cartier, hip-hop's a game that's worth the wait.
Words: John Kennedy
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

Jazz Cartier is finally getting the recognition he deserves. After dropping his highly-celebrated sophomore mixtape, Hotel Paranoia, last year, the 24-year-old spitta signed to Capitol Records this past April and just wrapped up headlining a nationwide tour that saw him perform in 18 cities across North America

The self-proclaimed “Prince of Toronto” was born Jaye Adams in The 6ix but lived all across the globe since his stepfather worked for the U.S. government. “I used to watch Catch Me If You Can a lot, so I started to make up identities for myself,” he recalls. “At every school I was something new.” Jazz found his home in hip-hop, becoming a fan of spittas like Lil Wayne and Z-Ro. He began identifying as a rapper in the eighth grade while in Kuwait. But, his childhood hobby and coping mechanism became real during a 2009 trip to his hometown. Jazz’s dad called in a favor that landed him in the studio with Canadian rapper JB. It was there Cartier would record his first song and meet his future go-to producer, Michael Lantz.

After graduating from high school in 2012, Jazz re-planted his flag in Toronto, with plans to bolster the newly bubbling music scene. He built his brand locally, all while quietly honing his aggressive, lyrical sound. In April 2015, he dropped the acclaimed mixtape, Marauding in Paradise, which offered a grittier look at Toronto. “He’s a student of the culture,” says Ivan Evidente, Director of A&R at Universal Music Canada. “The different kinds of music that he appreciates, whether housier vibes or boom-bap, it shows how well-rounded he is.”

Following up last year’s Hotel Paranoia with the playful “Tempted,” one of his newest singles that has over 5 million plays on Spotify, Jazz is set on becoming the next big thing out of his city. “Rap’s a waiting game; some people get impatient and blow their shot,” says Jazz. “I’m just gonna put out good music and wait for my turn.”

Check out more from XXL’s Summer 2017 issue including the cover story with the 2017 XXL Freshman class, our interview with actor Demetrius Shipp Jr.Ski Mask The Slump God's grind for self-made success, Doin' Lines with Yo Gotti, $uicideboy$ and how they use hip-hop as therapy, Sonny Digital taking the helm of the 2017 XXL Freshman Class cyphers and more.

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