Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mississauga Rapper: John River Review

I find myself quite often only concerned with the adequacy of the band scene in Mississauga and the GTA; alas, today I'll be talking about a local rapper, named John River.

Me? Talking about a rapper?

Who would've thought?

Specifically considering the fact that the only rap/hip hop I listen to consists of artists who were shot sometime between 1985 and 1999.

I know however, that the reason for my distaste doesn't stem from a preference for alternative rock, but from the fact that I believe music should make you feel something. And all too often, rap doesn't make you feel anything anymore. Not like it used to.

I mean, does the line "I got broads in Atlanta, Panda, Panda, Panda, Panda" make you feel something?

Does the line "Frat girls still tryna get even, haters mad for whatever reason, smoke in the air, binge drinking, they lose it when the DJ drops the needle" make you feel for the guy?

No. You sound like f*cking assholes and so what? Cool man; you're messing around with some chicks in Atlanta, do you want a medal or something?

Rappers are too busy nowadays worrying about who can say a line the fastest that they forget being faster doesn't make you better.

They're far too busy trying to make the fucking Billboard 100 by shocking you with their lady repertoire and excessive talk about "f*cking b*tches/making money" that they don't spend any time trying to make the music mean something to them.

In conclusion to the above; John River's music makes you feel something. It makes you feel the pressure and pain he's portraying.

In my personal favourite song, Hope City II, River expresses the stresses of his life as an artist in Mississauga ("'Sauga" if you're cool; but hey, I never said I was).

He portrays a sense of dismay for day-to-day life and the struggle he feels to be the best in such a small industry with such large competition.

My favourite exert from the song (below) details River's realization from meeting his idol, that it would be more in his own favour to be himself rather than attempt to live up to someone else.

"And look, John River used to sound like J. Cole, 
to be honest I was scared and I compared my own flow, 
and his was so much better, 
completely different class, 
in my city I was nice, 
next to him I was trash. 
Until the day came, 
I met him in real life, 
he looked me in the eyes, said 'nigga, you real nice. 
You could be the best, I know it's true' 
he says 'you sound like me, you gotta sound like you' 
I said the rap game was stale and 'you was better than me' 
he says 'you sound like yourself, you could be better than me'" 

And what I love most about this is that I felt it. Almost hypnotizing. From the strength in his voice and the wording, I felt how much what he was saying meant to him. That it isn't about being like the other success's, it's about being your own genre of success.

River has that uniqueness that makes a person stand out from the crowd. He's got that sound and look about him where you just need to hear one song and you'll think "Damn, he's gonna make it.".

Not to mention the song sounds bad*ss and with the video picturing different scenes of the GTA including the Coca-Cola towers (or Marilyn Monroe towers), Nappy's, and Erindale Station Rd, alongside lyricizing the area, it was pretty f*cking awesome.

So thank you John River for making hip hop mean something, when all too often it doesn't anymore.

Check it out and show some love for this local gem guys; you'll be happy you did.



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