While You Were Sleeping
The underground has been the heart and soul of Hip Hop since its creation. For every mainstream artist who is living the good life off of their first billboard smash, there are ten indie artists grinding their way through countless hours of touring, promotion and recording, as the prize of getting their material to the masses is bountiful. It's a beautiful thing to see how an underground artist can gather such a loyal fan base, from mixtape to album, who will keep their name warm and keep the light bill paid. Maybe no one knows this better than underground legend Classified, as he finally has reached his mountain top, so to speak, dropping the greatest hits collection While You Were Sleeping.
From dropping his debut album Time's Up in 1995, to creating his own label Halflife records, Producer/MC Classified has truly avoided taking time for some shut eye. Another Canadian Hip Hop stalwart hailing from Nova Scotia, Classified has created a name for himself that has produced 12 albums in 12 years. Racking numerous accolades for his work in his native homeland and across the East Coast, Class has definitely earned the right to drop a reflection of his work, as it is a treat to his die-hard fans, and those who unfortunately has not yet had the chance to witness his talent.
This Is For gets things rolling, as Classified shows his talent for not only rhyming, but crafting beats. The beat seems as if it is from the lost vault of Gang Starr, as Class addresses everyone from backpacking haters to innovative A&R's willing to take chances on unique voices. Fall From Paradise, from 2006's critically acclaimed Hitch Hikin' Music, finds Classified satisfied with his career and his experiences. He has performed with Busta Ryhmes and smoked hash with Keith Murray; ("I Love Hip-hop, 'cause it made me who I am/it gave me confidence, it made me a honest man"). Maybe being inspired by Mr. Nasir Jones, 1995 saw Classified flipping a sick Hall & Oates sample for his cut Life's a Bitch, which sounds like it could be a hit today. Hard To Be Hip-Hop is brilliant, as the beat sounds nothing like Hip-Hop. Rhyming over a Black Eyed Peas sounding techno-pop fusion, Classified gets help from Maestro Fresh and DJ IV as he kicks the truth, "It's hard to be Hip-Hop, and ain't nobody stayin' real, it don't pay bills when you showcase skills."
The crown jewel of this piece may just be Love the One You're With, which features Mic Boyd and Mike Boyd Sr., Classified's brother and father, respectively. The song lifts a sample from folk rocker Stephen Stills, and shows that talent must run in the Boyd family. Depending on whom you talk to, Classified is either a Hip Hop legend or rap's best kept secret. Either way, he has cemented his status in the game through hard work and sick wordplay. So after the next tour, he should pack the bags and take a trip back to Paradise.