• 2

    Jazz Cartier

    As Toronto rap continues to find its feet in a world, Jazz Cartier has kept his head down and churned out some gold. It's old news by now, but he put out one of the albums of the year with Marauding in Paradise.

    But the barking aggression that opens this most recent album doesn't tell the whole story. Cartier is a storyteller, able to paint distorted pictures that leave lasting images in a listener's head: listen to the two-part "Rose Quartz/Like, Crazy" for a vivid account of a good relationship that slowly sours, Annie Hall cross-referenced with "Yellow Submarine," all seen through a gauzy, smoke-filled filter.

    Listen all the way back to his early releases, and you'll find that he's always been comfortable on the beat. Cartier has a sixth sense for pace and rhythm, and he's understood a valuable lesson from day one: sometimes the best thing to do is let the beat breathe. Also, his live show is bananas.