Honestly, it’s a matter of time. With a sixth-month tour in the books, a clear amount of chemistry, and complementary energy, a SAINt JHN and Jazz Cartier collaboration is bound to happen anyway. So, why not now? Well, there’s a good chance tracks have already been recorded and produced. With that amount of time together on that equipped of a tour bus, what are two talented young hip-hop lords to do?
Let’s open with the man that opened the tour. Jazz Cartier is an enigma. Indefinable as anything more specific than a hip-hop artist, he has, and has always had, a knack for seamlessly doing anything and everything within the range of his music. First gaining traction with the release of 2014 single and video, Count on Me, he seemed in the beginning a calm, cool, and subdued kind of rapper that specialized in the undeniably smooth and sultry. Though with time he didn’t lose that ability, he enveloped an equally vibrant knack for every other stylistic approach to the game. When came his debut album, Hotel Paranoia, so too did a wider and more well-rounded glimpse at his ability. It was dark, gothic, melodic, and above anything else, highly experimental. An early blueprint for the high-energy, low-fidelity movement that would come to take Toronto’s grip, Hotel Paranoia was not as celebrated in its time as it would be were it released today. Such is the trouble of experimental innovators of which Jazz has always been key to the hip-hop realm. Along with the anthemic, dark, melodic jams like 100 Roses, Red Alert, and Phantom of the Opera, Cartier also delivered I Know and Tell Me – romantic, sexualized tracks reminiscent of his earliest work. The spectrum was starting to take shape.
And then, silence. Years went by before the road to his long-awaited sophomore project, FLEUREVER came to the public ear. But when it did, it was obvious that Cartier was done with the lack of recognition and appreciation. He embarked on a road of intensity defined most by its utter lack of fucks given to anyone else making music today, creating a thesis on the state of high-energy hip-hop and where it’s all headed. That place where it’s all headed found its destination in FLEUREVER, released in the Summer of 2018 to the amount of acclaim a Jazz Cartier album was always bound to achieve. It was the most high-intensity, high-quality middle ground project of the year. Back on track to the top of the hip-hop game, the still young Toronto rapper caught the attention of the artists and audiences he had helped to create along his road to FLEUREVER. Recruited by the somehow more intense, more energetic SAINt JHN for his Not A Cult tour, Jazz Cartier became the ultimate opener for the Brooklyn madman.
SAINt JHN – for all intents and purposes – came out of absolutely nowhere already famous. Between his vibrant social media persona, his role as a high-fashion model, and of course, his one-of-a-kind take on hip-hop and R&B music, there has never been anyone quite like him. Dedicated full-force to absolutely everything he does, his music is explosive, as are his love performances highlighted by tracking into the audience and switching gears with faultless falsettos; his Instagram stories highlighted by interactions with strippers, cab drivers, and everyone else in his life – somehow all unfolding the same way with his new friends learning some wisdom in the process; his fashion line highlighted by flame decals and CHRISTIAN SEX CLUB printed in bold font. And yet, even in that intensity and borderline absurdity is balance and artistic genius. He does not misstep.
And that’s impressive for a man who takes so many grand, destructive leaps. But, like Cartier, SAINt JHN isn’t only capable of mellow, collected creative bursts, he thrives within their creation. When his debut album, Collection One was released in March of 2018, it was one of the best debuts of the year. In fact, it was one of the best albums released in all of music in 2018. He is a veteran disguised in a rookie’s lack of professional experience. But his life experiences have shaped him into a professional the likes of which we’ve never seen and the art of which is extremely rare in the modern creative sphere. High-intensity deliveries of the explosive star sending warning shots to his naysayers (3 Below) and imagining interactions with his favorite porn stars (Traci Lords) somehow find balance with tales of love and loss (Selfish) and introspective streams of thought (Reflex).
It’s in that balance that lies his and Jazz Cartier’s most inner and seemingly impossible genius. They, like all of us, are shaped by their wide-ranging emotional responses and life experiences, but unlike us, they have the creative talent to make their listeners understand their mind through art. And, unlike other artists, they utilize the entire scope of their emotive and experiential palettes to couple with their boundless talent. In doing so, they become transcendental. They are both most often referred to as rappers – and rightfully so – but to box either of them in under the umbrella of even high-energy, low-fidelity hip-hop that they’re so prone to creating, is unjust. They’re both talented vocalists and producers, can both rap quick-cadenced, meaningful verses and deliver heart-pounding choruses with intensity and violence. They are both wide-ranging at scales never seen before hip-hop’s indefinable modern age and would undeniably complement one another at each step of that scale.
They could deliver R&B-nuanced slow jams, game-changing hip-hop party anthems, and everything in between. Need proof? They’ve each done it all before in their individual careers.
They could blend into a cohesive, complimentary duo spurred by their mutual friendship and passion for propelling forward music in 2019. Need proof? They proved it every night for half-a-year with their unmatched live performances.
They’re a perfect collaborative pair, the world is primed for their energy and transcendental talent, and quite honestly, it’s likely already begun. Be ready for when it happens, because it’s going to change hip-hop.