Jazz Cartier is playing a noon set Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Photo by Jess Baumung

By Chad Swiatecki, special to the American-Statesman

At Emo’s recently a sort of rare-for-Austin thing happened: an Austin City Limits Music Festival performer took the stage in the city less than two weeks before the festival kicks off in Zilker Park.

Festival bookers usually try to contractually prevent that sort of thing from happening, to create exclusivity for the festival lineup. But Sept. 20’s appearance at Emo’s by Toronto rapper Jazz Cartier — as a support act for buzzed-about croon-hopper Post Malone – featured such an up-and-coming name that it wasn’t likely to soften festival demand in any measurable way.

Cartier hopes to change that and would like very much to draw as many early gawkers as possible to his noon set on Oct. 1, and showed the energy and presence on stage that could certainly help win over the festival crowd.


That was most apparent on the set closer “Dead Or Alive,” a counting-my-days look at both the sometimes grim life forecast of urban youth and the tendency of young rappers’ worth to appreciate considerably after a violent death. That 2015 single was curiously omitted from “Hotel Paranoia,” the 2016 album that found him moving beyond just the vocal treatments and trap-style beats of many young rappers following in the footsteps of Jazz’s fellow Canadian countryman Drake.

The ACL Fest appearance will mark Cartier’s fourth visit to Austin in 2016, which also saw him perform at the Fader Fort during South by Southwest and as part of the JMBLYA package tour over the summer.

Talking about his artistic growth and other topics prior to the Emo’s show, Cartier gave a hint at what festival crowds can expect from him … some day.

On festival antics: Festivals are cool, but I don’t like when they limit me. Like I want to try to do something wild like spray the crowd with a fire extinguisher, but they’re always trippin’. Why? But it’s cool. I’ll play by the rules for now. Until I’m big enough to lawyer up and counter any lawsuit.

On performing at high noon: The purpose now is winning people over and that’s what the show is about. If you don’t know me by now then you will after you’ve heard me. “Dead Or Alive” is the one that everyone loves as soon as they hear it, but I don’t know exactly why yet.

On moving forward creatively: (Producer) Lantz kept pushing me on (“Hotel Paranoia”). Trying to get me to a point where I can connect with fans and not just put together another collection of songs. If I’m doing a song and he wasn’t feeling it he’d tell me “Lose that. Do it again. If it hurts, it hurts, but go deeper.” The outro where we’re talking about death, legacy and lots of personal stuff was really tough and took a lot from each of us.

On his collaboration wish list: Kanye is one of them. Z-Ro is one of them. And … E-40, though I have no idea what it would sound like. I have like 30 recordings done, waiting for certain people that I want to work with. It’s all about timing. There are some people I want to work with who I’ve been around them five or six times, but we’re just people being real and the timing isn’t right. But when it is, I’ll be ready.