As a 14-year-old, Luke Boyd could often be found hitchhiking through the small town of Enfield, Nova Scotia, listening to RUN DMC’s Tricky on his Walkman and dreaming of making it big.
Nearly 20 years later, Boyd is better known as Canadian rap sensation Classified. With more than 15 years of writing, recording, mixing and touring under his belt, the rapper is back with his twelfth studio album, Handshakes and Middle Fingers.
Classified said the album is about “balance, the yin and the yang and the gift and the curse.” The 15-track album talks about family, life changes and the music industry.
“I can’t talk about just hip hop music all the time. It was kind of getting old to me,” he said, tipping back his black, thick-rimmed hat. “You got to have that flip side so people who necessarily aren’t into hip hop or care how dope you are have something to relate to.”
Although Handshakes isn’t all about being the best MC, the album is still undeniably “Classified.”
“I make music I like, so at the end of the day, it’s going to all have that feel that sounds like Class.”
The “Class” sound is made even more authentic through his isolated recording process.
“Ninety-five per cent of the time it’s just me in the studio hitting record, making the beat and writing all the music,” said the 33-year-old. “I take a lot of pride in that.”
The album’s first single, That Ain’t Classy, calls out music industry’s stars, declaring them “wannabes” and “self centered weirdos.”
But Class wouldn’t single anyone out.
“For those people, if it sounds like you in the song, then it’s about you.”
Despite his recent national fame, Classified holds true to his roots. The rapper still lives in Enfield with his wife, Kim, and two daughters — two-year-old Taylor and eight-month-old Kayla.