(Half Life Records/Universal Music)
By Keith Sharp
Considering the global success chalked up by The Weeknd, Drake and Justin Bieber in 2015, you’d think that Nova Scotia’s Classified would be biting at the bit to inject his new release into the fray. Yet despite his 16th record release being arguably his most commercially viable to date, there’s something about the content of his lyrics which suggest Luke Boyd is reluctant to join the cut-throat high stakes gambit of battling it out against the industry’s R&B/rap heavyweights.
Even in songs like “Square” and “Heavy Head”, Classifed suggests he’s quite content to establish himself, domestically, that he is not prepared to sell out his own integrity and that he does retain personal values which would be challenged by taking on the industry’s heavy hitters. Classified’s overall perspective is so Canadian it’s almost refreshing.
On “It’s Hard To Understand” he talks about the therapeutic value of visiting Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital and marvelling how singing a few songs and autographing a few photos can have such a positive effect on kids. Yes he has fun talking about his Maritime heritage on “No Pressure”, his duet with Snoop Dogg, “Filthy” pokes a finger whose artists’ performances are not authentic, “Beautiful Escape” reflects his thoughts on packing in the whole business while “Noah’s Arc” allows him to express his frustration at social injustices, especially targeting corrupt law enforcement.
But in the 16-track collection, he also pokes fun at his own fashion sense (or lack of) on “Hoodie and a Ballcap” while the final “Best Of Me” is a virtual biographical recitation of his entire 20 years in the music business. Interesting material, poignant lyrics (with some all-star cameos by Snoop Dogg, DJ Premier, Rae Mae and David Myles) but seemingly purposely targeted at a domestic market.
Download: “No Pressure”, “Square”, “Noah’s Arc”