Classified gets personal with new album Greatful
Nova Scotia rapper prepares for new tour across Canada in February
It only made sense that Canadian rapper Classified would record his new album, "Greatful," in his home studio in the rural backwoods of Enfield, N.S.
The 38-year-old Juno winner says his 15th album is his most personal yet, tackling issues such as fatherhood and marriage on tracks like "Having Kids Is Easy."
"I kind of realized that's what people relate to in my music, is the personal stuff. The stuff I usually wouldn't write about or might second guess about," says the father of three young girls, ages two, five and seven.
"I've always talked about personal stuff in my music, but it was more so stuff about me. This album is talking about my personal relationships with other people. That's the biggest difference."
A faint smell of marijuana lingers in his humble musical workshop, where the rapper — whose real name is Luke Boyd — works surrounded by dozens of gold and platinum records.
Seated in front of a computer monitor and mixing table, lounging in socks and sandals, loose-fitting sweatpants and a grey T-shirt, Classified looks relaxed. It's clear the veteran MC and producer is sitting on his throne.
"I've always worked out of my own space on my own time," he says of his home studio Halflife Records. "I just wanted to build a place like this that I could get away from the kids but still be close enough to run back in and have some
lunch with them."
Classified's brother and father live nearby and were often called upon to lay down guitars or piano for this album, he says.
And although "Greatful" is very much a family affair, the record also boasts a number of other collaborators, including DJ Premier, formerly of Gang Starr, and Ria Mae.
And the "Greatful" debut single "No Pressure" features hip hop heavyweight Snoop Dogg, who travelled to a hotel room in Truro, N.S., to record the part.
The 16-track album also includes an upbeat ode to Canadian oilsands workers — many of whom commute to Alberta from Atlantic Canada.
"My bags are packed, my favourite hat, I work away to make it work at home," he raps on "Work Away," which features vocals, guitar and horns by frequent collaborator and fellow Maritimer David Myles.
"I work away because there ain't enough work where I come from, but honestly I love where I come from."
Classified, who has been making music for nearly two decades, says he wanted to write an anthem for Canadians who are away from their families often three weeks out of a month.
"A lot of people in Canada have to travel for their jobs, they have to leave their families to make ends meet," says Classified.
"It's a tribute to those people who have to work away."
Classified will embark upon a 26-date cross-Canada tour on Feb. 6.