To hear John River tell it, his future lies in one of two extremes: either he’ll become the biggest rapper in the world, or he’ll end up as the biggest bust in hip-hop. The more you hear the 20-year-old Mississauga artist tell his story, the more you can’t help but believe that he’s destined to succeed. After all, this is the same artist who, as a teenager, took a bus to New York City and showed up unannounced at the president of Dreamville’s door. It’s also the same artist who left an indelible mark with his debut mixtape, The Calm, and is now prepared for its followup, The Storm.
What happens to a young artist when things don’t happen as quickly as they had imagined? The same setbacks that cause so many to call it quits served as a wakeup call for John River once the honeymoon of The Calm ended. “You have to really grow up,” says River. “You have to shut up, stop complaining, get educated, be willing to listen, and understand that maybe you’re not the best rapper in the world at 17.”
Suffice it to say, a lot has happened since the release of River’s debut mixtape two years ago, and it was long overdue that we caught up with him once again. We spoke about everything from believing in one’s greater purpose, to the significance of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to the pressures of success and the fear of failure.
Listen to the podcast above and get a glimpse of the conversation after the jump.