Album Review: Jazz Cartier “Hotel Paranoia”

There is one thing you cannot deny when listening to Jazz Cartier. Cartier is putting a twist on pop-rap. Mostly all of his songs have a repetitive an irresistibly catchy hook, sick beats and seem to focus mainly on dark or relatable lyrics.

Cartier is not one of the game’s top lyricists, but he like many rappers today still get the job done as a rapper with the ability to make you become addicted to a song. In order to pull this off, you need to be able to make a song that gives you an unbelievable vibe with much finesse. Also, it helps to have lyrics that really pack a punch and are extremely quotable, no matter how common it is, much like Future. But what is the twist that Jazz has to offer on pop-rap? His signature sinister theme. It’s a heavily recurring theme, but he pulls it off.

It was on his highly impressive debut project “Marauding in Paradise” where we first witnessed what him and west-coast MC Vince Staples have in common, the half the time weakly written and repetitive hooks. Although Vince is the better lyricist, Jazz has the better hooks at the end of the day, but they’re only better by a hair and they are all over “Hotel Paranoia.” At times they can just be so painfully predictable and strung on that it becomes unbearable. This can easily be displayed on the opening track “Talk of The Town.” Cartier sings “I am the prince of the city, I am the talk of the town. Nobody else f***ing with me, ‘Cause I am not f***ing around.” I can’t lie, these lyrics are pretty cool, but it is repeated so much that it quickly grows tiring.

Also I should warn you, the track closes with a very cringe worthy skit. It’s hard to pull through but try hard, it will be okay. With that, you would think this could be enough to go ahead and give this album a poor rating, but it’s acceptable. Jacuzzi makes up for it. He is one of the few rappers who can absolutely pull off auto-tune. He just has one of those singing voices that can make low notes sound so deep and rich that it’s a pleasure to listen to, much like Travis Scott.

Once you move on to “Red Alert,” Jazz’s pop factor becomes broad as day. Although this could probably be one of the worst songs on the record, it will appeal to top 40 radio fans as it is insanely catchy and very well produced. I think it’s safe to say that most should be expecting nothing short of high octane production from Jazz and Lantz.

Cuzzi’s trap rap is where he shines. On songs like “Save Me From Myself,” “Stick and Move” and “Opera,” he ferociously goes in with fierce word play and screaming. Even though he’s still on the more underground side of rap, this is a style becoming unique to him. It can be corny when other rappers do the whole screaming flow, but Cartier has much more of a genuine attitude when it’s coming out of him.

It’s no secret that Jazz sticks to dark and heavy bangers with “trap-hats” going off for the whole song and this is his only flaw. “Marauding in Paradise” and “Hotel Paranoia” are not that different. Each are evil and intensely themed. Although when you get to track ten, you hear “How We Do It,” which could very well be the best song on the album. He tried something different here. He rapped over a modernized version of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” stepping away from the toned down pace of his usually bangers. It is sure to become a club banger in the future and is unquestionably fun.

If you were to take all the songs off his two projects and put them in one playlist, you would become sick of the playlist maybe ten songs in. By now we all know what we are getting ourselves into when listening to Jazz Cartier, but it isn’t enough to say that he doesn’t bring something fresh to rap. “Hotel Paranoia” lands a not-so-surprised 6/10.

ALBUM POSTERBOYS: How We Do It, Save Me From Myself, One Day/Feel Away, Opera, Stick and Move

Nick can be contacted at [email protected]