Multi-talented Mississauga resident Matthew Jonathan Derrick-Huie who raps under the moniker ‘John River’ can now add ‘motivational speaker’ and ‘award nominee’ to his resumé. His visceral video for ‘Hope City II’ earned a Much Music Video Award nod following his speech on “Dropping Doubt & Dropping Out” at a recent TEDx event.
The 20-year-old musician is currently riding high under the tutelage of J.Cole, whom River tracked down at an airport with a bottle of Hennessey to give Cole so he would hear River’s verse. Cole is also referenced in ‘Hope City II’ as River gives an unguarded, and charismatic performance, revealing his evolution from wanna-be to rising star and the journey he took to make it there. You may also recognize the sample from the Lil Wayne/Robin Thick collab ‘Tie My Hands’ off ‘Tha Carter III’.
The name ‘John River’ derives from The King James Bible, Matthew 3:16 where John baptizes Jesus in the River Jordan. All of the boys in the Derrick-Huie household bear the names of Jesus’ disciples: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Now John River is the Holy One and we are His believers.
His 2012 mixtape ‘The Calm’ was met with glowing reviews, which must come as a relief to River who abandoned a potential soccer career in Europe before moving back to Mississauga to pursue music. His upcoming mixtape titled ‘The Storm’ is due out by the end of the summer and should feature more of the raw emotion that River exudes on ‘Hope City II’.
With guys like J. Cole now in his corner, it’s clear that River has come a long way from his early days where it appears he had some troubles with those overseeing his career. In ‘Hope City II’ he says, “Ask me about my journey I promise I took the best route//two months after the con manager got locked up”. A bleak beginning, but the forecast remains sunny for River in Hope City.
Follow John River on Twitter for updates on the album and stay tuned to The NU for his new video, set to drop on June 23rd. Enjoy ‘The Calm’ before ‘The Storm’ in the meantime.