- Classified’s got mad skills---and skulls.
For Classified, 2013 has been a banner year. Since January, the Enfield rapper has released a chart-topping self-titled record, gone platinum with his hit "Inner Ninja" (featuring David Myles) and won a Juno and two MMVAs. But in true Canadian fashion, Classified is modest about---and even a bit wary of---his increasing fame.
"I don't need to be any more famous than I was a couple of years ago. Even the new fame that 'Inner Ninja' has brought, it sometimes seems like a little much," he says. "I'm just happy I can get up every morning and do this for a job."
Despite these reservations, Classified, AKA Luke Boyd is about to break out even further---he recently signed a worldwide contract with Atlantic Records. With "Inner Ninja" already getting radio play outside of Canada, the rapper may soon reach an international audience. This is an opportunity Boyd seems both cautious and excited about.
"I'm nervous of what it's going to turn into. Is the album going to blow up in the UK and I have to go tour there for three months? I'm over 30 years old now, so it's not like I want to get in the minivan, tour around and live hard," he says.
"At the same time, I'm scared to not try it. Because in 10 years I might say What if?'"
Boyd does not decry touring outright, saying that he likes the balance of being on the road and engaging with fans. Still, with the release of 15 records since 1995, it is clear that he is more comfortable working in the studio. "That's the difference between me and a lot of artists. They'll make a record and then won't want to be in the studio for two years," he says. "I like being in the studio. I go out, smoke some weed, make some beats and write my raps."
Boyd also enjoys the collaborative environment of the studio. He cites his work with Myles as especially productive, and since "Inner Ninja" the two have collaborated on Myles' latest record, In the Nighttime, as well as on acoustic performances.
For Boyd, these lower-key shows have been a breath of fresh air.
"A lot of the times when we do our shows there's a lot of heavy beats and yelling with the crowd, and it's more about the energy and vibe," he says. "But when we do these acoustic things it's more about the lyrics and the feel of the song."
This weekend, Classified will be headlining the first day of the Red Door Island Party, where his performance will more likely be about the energy and vibe. The event takes place on Georges Island, which sits in the middle of Halifax Harbour, and concert-goers must be shuttled by boat to attend. This is a welcomed change of scenery for someone who's played the city countless times.
"We didn't want to do a multi-purpose centre or a bar again because we've done that so many times," he says. "I want to do something different in Halifax and I thought this was perfect."
The Georges Island concert will mark the halfway point to an already very successful year. From here, Boyd plans on more touring and increased promotion for both his and Myles' records.
This likely means even more fans will soon jump on board, which is a prospect the small-town rapper puts into perspective: "You have to just step back and look at it, because it is surreal sometimes."
The Red Door Island Party w/Classified, Rich Aucoin, Sticks
Saturday, July 27 from 1pm-5pm
w/The Trews, The Stanfields, Gloryhound, The Town Heroes
Sunday, July 28 from 1pm-5pm
Georges Island, $35-$75
tickets and boat reservations sea.etixnow.com