Self Explanatory: One-on-One with Classified [Interview]
Enfield, NS – I’ve interviewed Classified many times over the past few years and for various different mediums including my radio show and my DVD series. His hard work and dedication has been evident since day 1 and his success is nothing close to an overnight feat. It’s the fact that he continued to develop and dedicate himself to self-improvement and because has the drive to get himself out there. He has been a constant icon in Canada for fans of hip-hop music and an artist that sets the bar higher every time he releases a project. With that being said, another interview was bound to happen and it’s been in the making since the first time we linked in Halifax for Hold It Down DVD Volume 2 [Editor’s note: Shameless plug].
Since then, and by then I mean back in 2005, I have watched Classified constantly tour Canada while maintaining the ability to release new material without too much time passing in between projects. He maintains his relevance in the scene and his tours seem to get bigger and further reaching with each project that passes, this time releasing through Sony. He handles his business, handles his own production and has great support through his HalfLife team. His accolades, discography and overall contributions to the scene already puts him up there with the most notable names in Canadian hip-hop history… and he still has a lot left to offer.
Self Explanatory is Classified’s latest studio album and his discography, including an EP and a “Best of” release, is now 13 titles deep. In the interview Class tells us that he’s been eating off of Canadian hip-hop for 6 years and his fan base continues to expand. The new album didn’t do to bad on Canadian charts and 2 of the 5 singles faired quite well on their own as well: “Anybody Listening” and “Oh…Canada”. To say the least, many are inspired by his work ethic and continuous growth. I think Class put it best when he said: “You can do it, but it takes a lot of work and dedication, a lot of people don’t want to put that work in they just want to be famous.”
HipHopCanada: How’s everything been since you dropped your last album? What type of response did you get?
Classified: I’ve been good man… doing a ton of touring. finally got to Australia and Amsterdam, been through the UK etc. The response has been great. I think we reached a lot more people with this album, just having Sony behind it gave us a lot more avenues to get it out. Finally getting some downtime… spending time with family and working on a new album.
HipHopCanada: Let’s talk about album sales and touring. Do you feel you have to tour more now to sell albums or is it easier with your online presence and how the Internet is evolving?
Classified: Touring is everything. Without touring, you’re just another artist on the internet trying to get your music out. Touring definitely helps sell albums. Things have changed. I’ve noticed now more than ever when you market an album, get radio play/video play etc. it helps sell albums but it helps get more shows. It’s easier to make a living doing shows then it is to sell albums.
HipHopCanada: How many times have you been across Canada now?
Classified: About 8 or 9 times now.
HipHopCanada: Where have you performed outside of Canada?
Classified: Australia, Germany, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Austria, Switzerland and America.
HipHopCanada: What’s your feelings on who’s got next now that Drake has achieved what he has for Canada?
Classified: Who’s knows. I bet if you asked anyone two years ago who they thought would of blown up from Canada, no one would of said Drake. It’s never the guy you expect.
HipHopCanada: You’ve put in a lot of work on a major independent grind. Do you feel you have gotten the respect from your peers that you deserve?
Classified: Definitely. I think I got the respect a few years ago from the hip-hop scene in Canada. People have seen the work I put in and whether or not my music is their cup a tea, you can’t deny what I’ve done with no support at all.
HipHopCanada: Do you think Canadian emcees can survive just off Canada’s population and support for hip-hop? Do you look elsewhere for sales?
Classified: I’ve been living off of Canadian hip-hop for 6 years now, and I’ve been saving for some rainy days. I’ll be good for the next 5 years too. You can do it, but it takes a lot of work and dedication, a lot of people don’t want to put that work in they just want to be famous.
HipHopCanada: Are you and Jordan Croucher still working together?
Classified: A little bit here and there. but not that much anymore. He’s doing his own thing. He moved up to Toronto and is working with cats up there.
HipHopCanada: Was it easy to get the rights for the sample for “Oh Canada”?
Classified: No comment! [Laughing] I still haven’t gotten it cleared, and honestly, I haven’t tried. It’s the national anthem, they can’t sue you for that, can they?
HipHopCanada: I ask everybody this, if you could knock out one celebrity, preferably a Canadian to make it interesting, who would it be and why?
Classified: Jim Carrey for giving up his Canadian status.
Written by Ya Favourite Lightskin aka Dynamic for HipHopCanada