Rowjay | “The little guy from Saint-Léonard” which fills theaters in France

Nearly 115,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. More than 400,000 listens to Fast life, released Tuesday. A tour of 15 cities in Europe. The success of rapper Rowjay is impressive. Here is the recipe.

Posted at 1:51 a.m.

Updated at 11:00 a.m.


Jason Rosauri, aka Rowjay, was introduced to rap in elementary school, in Saint-Léonard, the location of our interview. “I’ve lived here my whole life. It’s a very rap neighborhood, with me, Enima, Connaisseur [Ticaso], VT… there’s always been rap here. It was by going to school with Haitians and Algerians that I experienced this culture,” he says.

Extract of Young Jeezy en 2005

At the beginning of the 2000s, while young Jason discovered this genre which was beginning to gain popularity in Quebec, a certain Roi Heenok stood out through his videos posted online. It is not so much through his music as through his words and his way of expressing himself that the artist stands out. “I grew up on King Heenok. The first time I went to France, in 2016, people talked to me about him all the time,” says Rowjay.

Indeed, the legend of the Montrealer of Haitian origin remains greater on the other side of the Atlantic. “The guy influenced Freeze Corleone, a big French rapper. Another, Damso, mentions it on the intro [Périscope] from his first album. He’s an important character in local rap. Over time and my travels, I realized its impact there,” remarks the 27-year-old MC.

With finesse

With royal blessing, Rowjay borrows some of Heenok’s characteristics. “Like him, I play American in French and the French like the idea of ​​the American dream. »

This is the ultracapitalist version of the dream, declaimed with very strong enunciation. Each syllable pronounced is clearly audible and the vocabulary is as refined as it is full of anglicisms. At the forefront is the word “finisseur” which, at the rate at which Rowjay uses it, could replace “finasseur” in the dictionary.

“When you get slick in the street, you get tricked in a slick way,” says the rapper. Me, I finesse the game, in the sense of taking control of rap without anyone seeing me coming. But it’s also real finesse, with grace. The way I rap, the way I present myself. I created my universe. And the inspiration comes from Roi Heenok. »

In Rowjay’s opinion, this proposal appeals to the French public because they find it “exotic”. “I’m also interested in their culture and they like to have the point of view of a guy from Montreal. They are not aware of Quebec identity issues. For the most part, I’m a Canadian who has adapted to them, more for the cultural references than the language. »

The European market

It has already been 10 years since Rowjay was adopted by the French. In 2014, when he was just starting to record “seriously”, a project launched on Soundcloud found itself in the right ears. “It’s really chance,” admits the artist. Producer Myth Syzer passed it around on his feed and I benefited from his momentum. On Spotify, Montreal is my second city after Paris. Brussels is third. »

Next fall, Rowjay will return to Europe for a tour. Stops in 12 French cities are confirmed and others in Belgium are expected to be announced shortly. The first will be in Paris on September 19. “A little guy from Saint-Léonard is going to fill La Cigale as an independent artist,” he says with justified pride. It’s 1500 people; it’s more than Club Soda! »

Check out Rowjay’s Instagram account for show listings

Regarding the legendary venue on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Rowjay plans to perform there at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2025.

Fast life

The shows planned in Paris and Montreal will share the same particularity: Fast life will be played in its entirety.

Excerpt fromFinesse exercise 2

Rowjay’s latest album is undoubtedly his most accomplished. Comprising 21 songs for a duration of one hour, it can be listened to in one go thanks to a brilliant sequence of pieces with varied styles and rhythms. Mainly produced by Quebecers Freakey!, Mike Shabb, Nicholas Craven, Rami B and DoomX – the latter two are members of the Planet Giza trio –, Fast life has only one guest at the microphone: the Frenchman La Fève.

” This is the icing on the cake. He is one of the hottest rappers in France, says Rowjay. We did this song first and I wasn’t sure if I wanted it on the album, but it works. »

Because what also distinguishes the album is its cohesion ensured by skillful transitions arranged by DoomX. “I gave myself the challenge of making 20 solo tracks that will captivate people. To achieve this, I offer a variety of beats that go from Freakey’s big trap! to the boom-bap of Mike Shabb. Then, to reward someone for listening to the whole album, we added transitions between songs,” Rowjay explains.

” On Fast life, there is no concession. This is an album from a guy as much inspired by Kool G Rap as he is by Playboi Carti. I go back and forth between the two, in French, and that’s something completely different,” he concludes.

Rowjay is performing at the BleuBleu Festival, in Carleton-sur-Mer, in Gaspésie, this Saturday, 10:15 p.m.

Visit the BleuBleu Festival website

Fast life


Fast life


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