It's not surprising that John River is in the mood to celebrate these days -- everything seems to be going his way. Just days after walking the red carpet at the MMVAs (where his "Hope City II" was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Video), and mere months after being invited to speak as a TEDx guest, the Mississauga emcee is back with a party anthem timed perfectly for the start of summer. "Get Down" is totally uninhibited and unapologetically enthusiastic, and as much as it's John River's party, it's also a celebration of Mississauga and his hometown friends -- it's no coincidence that he wears Brampton native Tyler Ennis' Milwaukee Bucks jersey in the video. Things are looking up for John River these days. It'll be fun to see where things go from here.
I've been waiting a long time for this one to come out. John River just dropped the visuals to "Hope City II," the first music we've heard from Mississauga's young frontrunner in quite awhile. River comes out full throttle in what has to be the best revisiting of a song since J. Cole took a second stab at "Dead Presidents" -- relentless flow, impassioned delivery, and impeccable breath control. It's fitting, then, that River touches on his admiration and interaction with the Dreamville emcee in his nonstop verse. Did I mention the whole five-minute song is one verse? Let that sink in while you're listening. After you're done pressing replay an appropriate number of times, check out our podcast with him from the end of 2014. For what it's worth, it was my favourite interview of the year.
Update: After you have read the following story in full make sure to read Part 2 as John River met J.Cole again and we got it on video! Every once in awhile, it's good to be reminded of why we're doing what we chose to pursue. Too often, the routine of everyday life makes us forget what drove us in the first place. Inspiration needs refilling. This morning, I was given that inspiration. I woke up to a message from John River with an attachment to a story - his story, to be exact. In the story, he tells how he achieved many an aspiring young rapper's dream, how he ended up meeting J. Cole and rapping for the president of Dreamville. It's a story of hope, unapologetic naivete, and an irrepressible desire to achieve what he set out to accomplish. It relit my flame of inspiration, and I hope it will do the same to you. Read it after the jump.
John River took to Twitter recently to announce he was dropping five previously-unreleased tracks as a thank you to listeners for their support. Among the five tracks was the first song he ever recorded at 14 years old, a rough, soulful cut similar to "Every Evening". The real standout track in my opinion, however, is "Closer To My Dreams". The rising Mississauga emcee hops on Drake's Comeback Season classic and makes it his own, delivering the same heartfelt performance that has become his hallmark. It's unclear when the track was recorded, but thematically, it fits in somewhere between The Calm and his forthcoming project, The Storm. For more on John River, make sure to check out our interview with him. Stream "Closer To My Dreams" below.