Classified’s “Handshakes and Middle Fingers” is a musical Hip Hop album about balance. Through boom-bap beats, catchy choruses and dirty drums, Classified uses his unparalleled wit, lyrics and diction to examine the fine line between mainstream success and the underground. This is, without a doubt, the Classified album that fans have been waiting to hear. “I’m adamant/I won’t become extravagant,” he raps on Classy, the album’s declarative opener, which sets the stage for the razor-sharp party that follows. Life is hard on Handshakes and Middle Fingers, but it’s not without its just rewards. Rock hard new songs like Passion, Run With Me and High Man find the artist at once both boastful and reflective, spitting about the balance between a family life where Classified is the proud father of two young daughters, and life on the road where he performs hundreds of dizzying sold-out shows a year. “Seems like the only reoccurring theme in my life is the ups and downs,” says Classified, who was born Luke Boyd and has sold more than 70K records and been the recipient of 4 (nominated for 10) East Coast Music Awards. Self-Explanatory was released in 2009 as an adventurous concept album that allowed the listener to pick the record’s sequence of events. Heads were instructed to skip ahead tracks dependent upon their mood, and the album’s novel concept coupled with Classified’s flare for writing great pop hooks, introduced the proudly East Coast artist to a new generation of Much Music fans. Classified says the melodies on his new 15-track album represents the growth of a musician being exposed and open to new things. Classified has been in the game for a minute, and he never sold-out, and never changed who he is. He sees the success of Kardinal and Drake and knows that Canadian Hip Hop music is suddenly finding itself in the limelight again. As a member of the rap underground who’s fought hard to achieve mainstream notoriety, Classified knows the pressure is on for him to repeat the “Self-Explanatory” success. With eyes on the musician from all over the world and the stakes rising as his family expands, Classified took to the studio behind his house, smoked something, turned the drums up and told the world how he feels and for that we have chosen him as our Featured Artist Of The Week.
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