Debut project Marauding in Paradise shows promise from downtown Toronto artist

Toronto’s underground has experienced a resurgence of late, and Jazz Cartier and his Get Home Safe crew may have had a little bit to do with it.

Alongside names like Derek Wise and Drew Howard, the downtown rapper has been making waves and dropping promising audio and video over the past half year. It all comes together with Jazz’s debut release, Marauding in Paradise.

Dark, synthetic filtered music has become a staple of the downtown Toronto sound and it’s a strong force throughout this project. Jazz doesn’t shy away from this sound on the horror movie tinged “The Downtown Cliché” – a bold and unapologetic rant directed at posers.

While, there definitely is that aggressive and abrasive edge to Marauding in Paradise, it also has a quasi-religious angle. Tracks like the opening opus “Guardian Angel”, with its organ’s ghetto sermon are almost doctrinal, as are “Forever Ready/Band on a Bible”.

And, of course, there’s the stellar “New Religion”, a bass filled banger where Jazz hails the almighty dollar to ecclesiastical excess.

Even with the appeal to the saints, Marauding in Paradise is born out of a conflicted soul who recognizes the joy of reveling in his necessary sins as much as he wishes to be absolved of them.

The softer tunes, like “The Valley”, can still feel heavy with melancholy subject matter, but Jazz’s animated flow and staccato flow help keep things fresh. The somber and smoky “Wake Me Up When It’s Over” has an alertness in its verses that contrast its sleepy hook. It’s this duality that makes Jazz interesting.

There are moments when Jazz’s hesitance to leave his comfort zone might cause listeners ears to wander. However, Cartier’s energy and knack for detailing the fast life, while remaining relatable, won’t allow them to wander too far.