Toronto may have found its successor to Drake in Jazz Cartier. Cartier’s latest album “Hotel Paranoia,” released on Feb. 1, is a display of versatility that is a breath of fresh air from a city notable for its many singsong rappers. 

Cartier wastes no time in claiming his throne. He declares himself “the prince of the city” in the first line of his banger of an opening track, “Talk of the Town.” The bold claim is followed by a denouncement of his comparisons to Drake.

It is not until the end of the track that we officially enter the “Hotel Paranoia.” Cartier and his audience check in, and the album truly begins.

Cartier continues his romp into the second track, “100 Roses.” A track as large as his personality, Cartier dares any rapper to attack him. This is not a diss track; it is a warning—Cartier is here to stay and no one can stop him.

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The tempo slows down on his next two tracks, “Red Alert” and the previously released “I Know.” Cartier’s versatility shows that while he can destroy a high tempo and bass blaring beat, he can keep it as smooth as an R&B singer when the beat demands it.

Both styles of song come together on the standout track “Stick and Move.” The playful beat features aggressive verses and a Future-like hook. Unlike Future, however, Cartier’s flow is not muddied; it is clear while lending itself to the beat.

While the album is released under Cartier’s name, there is another star in the making, Lantz. The Toronto-based producer created the album exclusively. His songs range from softer, slower tracks to bass-booming bangers, and he manages to create an even balance in both.

Lantz’s penchant for creeping basses creates an atmosphere of mystique. It is as if smoke is unfurling from the entrance of the hotel as Cartier walks in.

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While the album is an excellent debut to a larger audience, it is not without its flaws. Cartier abuses hooks. Often times, it does not feel as if he has went through a full 16 bars before a hook comes through.

Also, Cartier only has a single feature. The feature comes from River Tiber, another Toronto-born artist, on “Tell Me.” It just seems disappointing that Cartier did not get any other features from one of the best up-and-coming rap scenes in the world.

Lastly, at 16 tracks long, the album is a bit of a slog. Tracks like “Tell Me” and “After the Club,” while highly enjoyable, seem unnecessary. The main theme of both tracks were addressed in earlier songs, making both dispensable.

For only his second release, Jazz Cartier is already looking like Toronto’s next general. With Drake busy recording “Views From the 6,” Cartier has a unique opportunity to expand his brand and jump into the mainstream with tracks like “Illuminati Love Song,” “Opera” and “How We Do It.”

Simply put, the album is flames, fire emoji, whatever you want to call it. Jazz Cartier is not just the next big thing out of Toronto. He is the next big thing in rap, period.

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Featured image credit: The Come Up Show/Edward Rissling/Flickr

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