Luke Boyd, better known as the acclaimed Canadian rapper Classified, released his masterfully executed album Hand Shakes and Middle Fingers through Decon during the spring of 2011, marking the first proper US release of his 16 year career. Further elaborating on his already prolific back catalog, the fifteen-song collection ruminates on themes of balance, addressing the ups and downs and continuing changes of his life and career.
Classified got his start in Enfield, Nova Scotia, launching Half Life Records to release his self-produced first album Time’s Up, Kid in 1995. A steady stream of ambitious albums and frenetic touring (including shows with Snoop Dog, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes,The Game, Nelly, and Nas) followed, eventually landing him national distribution through Toronto’s URBNET Records in 2004, for his seminal release Trial & Error, one of the top selling Canadian rap albums that year. Its 2006 follow-up, Boy-Cott-In the Industry reached #46 on Soundscan’s Canadian Hip Hop chart, spawning four Top 20 hits on MTV Canada and MuchMusic and earning him his first of many Juno Award nominations. Energized by the success, Classified released his Hitch Hikin’ Music in 2007 and Self Explanatory in 2009, both nominated for Juno Awards in the “Rap Recording of the Year” category. The latter album debuted at 25 on the Canadian Albums chart and spawned the single “Anybody Listening” which peaked at #52 on the Canadian Hot 100, a chart position he would then top in 2010 with the #14 platinum-selling single “Oh… Canada”.