John River – The Storm (Review)


The Mississuaga Rapper might very well have the mixtape of the year.

John River releases “The Storm“, a follow up from his past project “The Calm” three years prior and boy let me tell you it was worth the wait.

Let’s get straight into it,

“How bout I rob Rob Ford, in the Ford and make it crack when I hit em with the pipe/ I’ll be the mayor for the day/ I’ll be that nigga for the night.” – John River

John River opens up track 2 with nasty lyrics and a gully beat. Like, with lyrics like that where is the chill? *puts up missing posters* because I can’t find any; every other lyric is thunder and John River’s drive and insight on life are clear. The record asks tough questions with lyrics like,

“God’s so great why he make me poor?” – John River

The Backup Plan will resonate with anyone who ever dared to dream outside the status quo.

“Even though I think my life might stop, everybody said I did the right stuff.” – John River

The haunting organ music is befitting to the song’s message. The lyrics give voice to many young people’s frustration that comes when people want to know your five year plan or what’s next.

“Said I don’t know what I wanna be but you need to let me be me / so tell me what you wanna do cause there’s nothing that we can do.” – John River

The Storm 2

River continues his philosophical theme in what is arguably one of the best songs on the mixtape, Broken Down. A standout record from the whole project, Broken Down addresses the Prison Industrial Complex and how Black and Brown bodies are fodder to the machine. It starts off deceptively upbeat with a doo-op background that slowly becomes chopped and screwed as sirens blare. The record speaks to a daily struggle black people face living under constant threat, ending with chants of #BlackLivesMatter.

Throughout the album John River displays his love for humanity through his love and understating of himself. Now that is not the kind of lip curl thug statement one would expect to hear about a rap album—but it’s the truth.


John River has dubbed Mississauga (a suburb of Toronto), The Row. Throughout The Storm River reps, #TheRow and #TheSix seamlessly, never causing you to question his allegiances. River is aware of the impact he has had on The Six spitting lines like,

“Drizzy’s the pop of Toronto and I’m the baby ‘cause I’ve been in the crib with blood on my bib, I swear I kill these niggas if they ever try to fib.”

River ends the album with a tribute to fellow Toronto rapper Redway, who passed away this summer in a tragic car accident. Redway’s death caught the city off guard and an outpouring of grief went out over social media over one of the city’s rising stars.

This  is a mixtape with soul, one you gotta play back to backyou know the ones?

Listen to John River’s latest offering “The Stormhere.

Words by: Rebecca A.


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