Born to Carribean parents, Matthew Johnathan Derrick-Huie comes straight out of Mississauga, which he affectionately labels the Row. 20 years Rowside has sculpted and shaped the passionate voice, the unguarded pen, and the loaded microphone of the lyrical marksman known as John River.
In 2012, John River burst onto the music scene with the release of his first project, The Calm. Along with critical acclaim, The Calm was awarded ‘best Canadian project of the year’ by The Consignment Show on CHRW 94.9fm in London, Ontario. In 2015, Hope City II broke the internet. The, now viral, video has been viewed over 2 million times on Facebook and Youtube. The video earned River his first MMVA nomination for Hip-Hop video of the year. In September of the same year came the release of his second mixtape, The Storm. Once again, critics raved and the people indulged. The Storm has over 11,000 downloads through Hot New Hip Hop alone. A year later, River coined the brand name, “Let’s Save Matthew” under which he created his first clothing pieces. 2016 also saw John River’s inaugural tour, 14 Days In March. Stops in Ottawa, Kingston, Waterloo, and, his hometown, the Row were completely sold out.
“Change the world, [that’s] the goal.”
He’s more than a rapper; he’s an artist, and it is more than music; it’s a movement. A movement that sounds like promise wrapped in a cultural tapestry as diverse as the city that surrounds him. It sounds like power exhaled from a mind, tossed by a tongue, and consumed by an ear to appease the hip-hop appetite. Not only does it birth his own story, but the sound bares the tales of peers present and past who never had the platform. This is for Jazze; the cousin stabbed at 19 over chump change. This is for Redway; the big bro taken by a light that burned brighter than his. This is for the city that raised him; the town that claims him. This is John River. #ROW