Ostensibly, Jazz Cartier’s “Nobody’s Watching” is a strip club anthem. Its hook reads, “Hair like Pocahontas/Dancin’ like nobody’s watchin’/Shake that ass for papi/Pop it like nobody’s watchin’,” and it’s also produced by the illustrious Mike Will Made-It, who took the “Patron Saint of Strip Club Anthems” baton from Lil Jon around the time of Juicy J’s “Bandz a Make Her Dance,” and has never looked back. The only thing is, “Nobody’s Watching” doesn’t sound like a strip club anthem at all.
Cartier raps with a slurred delivery that’s more “Codeine Crazy” than “Same Damn Time,” and on the hook, he’s even weirder, multi-tracking his monotone singsong to the point that it almost sounds like horrorcore. Surprisingly, Mike Will is just as responsible for the song’s refusal to sound like it seems it would on paper. His production is syrupy, with down-tuned percussion and “unh” vocal samples making “Nobody’s Watching” sound like it would fit on an early A$AP Rocky tape, if not one of the older Memphis and Houston albums from which he often plundered. It’s not Mike’s most out-of-character moment of the year-- that would be his minimalist work on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.-- but damn!
Unless you can’t get over your disappointment that “Nobody’s Watching” probably won’t ring off in the club (if that’s the case, go listen to all of the bangers on Lil B’s new mixtape), the song’s yet another example of Cartier’s versatility. The native Torontonian has always had eclectic taste, and that peaked on last year’s excellent Hotel Paranoia tape, but what’s still to come might be even more exciting. Recently signed to Capitol Records, Cartier is scheduled to put out his official debut, Fleurever, later this year. Be sure to listen to its groovy lead single, “Tempted,” for a taste of his bright future.