Jazz Cartier wows crowd through the flu

Cartier going hard. Photo by Chris Carpenter. @cb43media

Toronto rapper performs upon the release of four new songs.

Jazz Cartier is one of Toronto’s biggest names in hip hop, but on the fourth stop of his Fleurever Yours tour at Le Belmont on Nov. 8, it felt as though there were no barriers between the crowd and the rising star.

Cartier’s latest show marked his fourth time performing in the city. Cartier, also known as Jacuzzi LaFleur, was on Post Malone’s tour when he passed through the city back in 2016. He also had a show with J. Cole signee J.I.D. at Le Belmont in June 2017.

Cartier’s last show in Montreal was that same month, as part of Fool’s Gold DAY OFF, a one-day festival put on by A-Trak’s Brooklyn label. That day, Cartier shared the stage with Speng Squire for the first time, a Montreal rapper who opened for him this past Thursday.

Speng has been making noise in the city’s hip hop scene for some years now. The 23-year-old rapper has a wide array of remixes and original tracks, posted on his YouTube channel, where he’s garnered thousands of views. Earlier this year, he released his debut album, Expressions of Now, gaining recognition from media outlets such as Complex and the Montreal Gazette.

Speng brought out TGEMarx, a member of up-and-coming Montreal hip hop collective The Grey Era as a guest on his set. They performed the unreleased track “My Dreams,” a collaboration between the two LaSalle natives.

“I mess with [TGEMarx’s] energy,” said Speng. “You can tell a lot by the energy you feel from someone. They don’t even need to say anything, you just feel it.”

As the opening act came to a close, the crowd slowly grew. The tight quarters of the venue began to feel increasingly cramped.

The intermission couldn’t have been more than half an hour, though it felt like more, thanks to the growing blend of anticipation and excitement that filled the air. While the show was originally planned to be held at MTELUS, a last minute switch to Le Belmont provided a more intimate night.

Finally, Cartier came on stage and the crowd erupted. Those furthest from the stage couldn’t have been more than 40 feet away from him, close proximity considering the level of fame Cartier boasts.

After performing a few of the most popular songs from his first mixtape, Marauding in Paradise, Cartier removed his sunglasses and took a moment in between tracks to address his “flowers,” the name he gave to his fan base some years ago—all members of a community of supports, which he calls “Petal Garden.”

“I got the flu and I haven’t been feeling the best, but there was no way I would cancel on you guys,” Cartier said. “I had to come perform tonight.”

The 200-something person crowd immediately erupted in cheers—Cartier’s determination filled them with excitement.

After performing some of his most popular tracks, including “Godflower,” “Tempted” and “Right Now,” accompanied by colourful anime-style graphics on a screen behind the DJ booth and dim, basement party-vibe lighting, an unfamiliar song began to play. For the first time of the night, no one sang along with Cartier’s melodic, slightly auto-tuned vocals. Then, the music stopped.

“No one knew this, but I’m actually dropping four new songs tonight,” Cartier said. “Here’s one of them.”

The crowd erupted in cheers as he performed “Cuzzi Relax,” one of the four new songs which formed the deluxe version of his album, Fleurever. The attendees swung their heads and hands as if he was performing one of their favourite songs.

Cartier’s set time came to the 60-minute mark, and shouts of “another one” were heard throughout the crowd as they began to anticipate the show’s end. Cartier, sensing the sudden dispiritedness, addressed the crowd.

“I love this city, man. I’m reppin’ Toronto, you’re reppin’, Montreal but we’re all from Canada. We’re all a family, fleurever,” he said.

As the crowd hollered in loving approval, Cartier’s DJ began playing his song “Dead or Alive,” a fan-favourite for its catchy, menacing chorus and organ-heavy beat. The crowd rapped along, word for word, jumping to the beat in sync with Cartier.

The show came to an end and distinct looks of approval were visible all around. Before stepping off the stage, Cartier had his own way of showing love for the night.

“Before I leave, I want to take a picture with every single one of you in this crowd,” Cartier said. “Thank you guys so much, for everything.”

Cartier jumped down from the stage and walked through the crowd with security, stopping to shake hands with anyone who sought his. He walked into the next room and took a seat as a line formed at the door.

LaFleur awaited his garden.

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