It has been a very good year for Halifax rapper Classified. The rapper is continuing to break down doors within his own country and is looking to broaden his reach internationally, having collaborated with the likes of Choclair, Canadian hip hop pioneer Maestro Fresh Wes as well as Royce Da 5’9.
Released in April 2009, his latest record Self Explanatory (his 13th album overall) was his first for Sony Music Canada after a largely independent career.
The record was given a second lease on life earlier this year when the single “Oh Canada” ignited a patriotic flame in Canadians that helped propel the track to become a Top 5 single on Muchmusic.
Asked about his decision to sign with Sony after a long, successful independent music career, Classified pulls no punches in his reasoning:
“The main reason was to have more in the way of international connections,” he says.
“I’ve been releasing records in Canada since the ’90s so it really didn’t make sense just to do a deal for Canada only.
“Ultimately though, I wanted to be able to better focus on the music and producing others rather than having to worry about the business side of things. I’ve got a great team working behind me now. The people at Sony have been extremely cool so far.”
Having just wrapped up a series of university shows here in Atlantic Canada, Classified is back in the studio preparing songs for his next studio record which he anticipates being released in the new year.
“I’ve got about nine songs that are almost done for the new record and am hoping to do another four or five tracks,” Classified says from his Halifax home. “Sony would like the first single from the new record out by the end of October.”
The rapper goes on to say that he actually started working on the follow-up to Self Explanatory last October but the success of “Oh Canada” brought the record to a new level of success and put his studio work on hold for a period of time.
Given his desire to broaden his musical reach beyond Canada’s borders, Classified admits that the international card didn’t work out quite the way he wanted it to with Self Explanatory but is optimistic turning this around with his next effort. “The next record is going to be more of a co-ordinated release effort. It will be simultaneously released in Canada and the U.S. and that really stands to help my chances of getting my music heard outside of Canada.”
With opening slots with Snoop Dogg and the Black Eyed Peas under his belt, Classified likely won’t remain a Canadian-only sensation for much longer.