Thursday, November 23, 2006

Reviews::Classified - Hitch Hikin' Music

This is an album I've been meaning to review for a minute now. I was a big fan of Classified's last album, but I have to admit I wondered if Halifax homesickness helped boost my enjoyment of it. But guess what chauncey, I live in Halifax once again, so did that dampen my enthusiasm for Class' latest effort? In short, no.

It turns out, even in Halifax, I'm a big fan of Hitch Hikin' Music. One of the highlights of Class' last album was the production, and that continues with his latest effort. Class produced every bit of this 17 track album, and every beat is solid, with some standouts. Class mixes samples with programmed sounds and live instrumentation to achieve a classic boom bap sound with modern touches. Every track features strong drums with plenty of other sounds to keep things interesting. Horns, pianos, and flutes all make welcome appearances. Actual scratching appears on some songs, which is always bonus points with me. Class usually tries to take a chance with a track or two out of the ordinary, and that continues here with the fast pianos and uptempo shimmy of Hard To Be Hip Hop as well as the guitars and Jack Johnson-ish vocals on All About U.

The second track, Find Out really gets things started with big drums, handclaps and an addictive vocal sample. Class lets us know where he's at - "I even bought a house off of writing rap shit, but don't get it twisted, I ain't that rich, cause I'm paying off the loan till I'm in a casket". An MC describing what his life is really like, always refreshing. The aforementioned Hard To Be Hip Hop is an amusing, almost old-schoolish back & forth collabo between Class and Canadian Hip Hop icon Maestro Fresh Wes. It doesn't really matter if this is a good song, it wins because Fresh Wes is on it. I think any Canadian MC putting out an album should be required to have Fresh Wes make a cameo.

Beatin It is a concept song about the beat making process, with Class rhyming as the beat comes together in sections. Clever idea. Feelin' Fine features former St. FX hoops star and aspiring R&B; crooner, Jordan Croucher along with Halifax MC Jay Bizzy. The horns and sunny, good-time vocals from Croucher make this a likable song that seems to be getting radio play. Hip Hop Star is another honest look at Class' life over a solid baseline. How many Hip Hop stars talk about mowing their own lawn and driving a "little shit-box car"? I'm guessing the title might perhaps be ironic. All About U with it's indie rock (vocals by Chad Hatcher) & rap mix shows Class, like me, knows a trend when he sees one.

The uptempo shimmy and violins of Cazual Drinking provide a backdrop from Class and Likwit legend Tash to talk about, uhhh, drinking. This one's a winner if only for the opportunity to hear Tash say "'Sup up Nova Scotia!". I can finally cross that off my "Things I'd like to hear members of the Alkaholiks say" list. See The Truth has a golden age feel, a track about the ladies a married Class can't get with, kind of reminds me of Brookyn Queens in some way. Believe It Or Not is an honest look at spirituality featuring fellow Halifax MC's Jay Bizzy, J-Bru & White Mic. Kind of like an undergound Jesus Walks without the ginormous ego.

Even though he prefers production work, I'd say Classified is probably Halifax's most well known MC at this point in time (well, other than Buck65 of course, but I guess I mean MC more in the traditional sense, not in the rapping like Woodie Gutherie sense, which Buck has locked up). Recently there seems to have been some anti-Class sentiment in Halifax and other places, mostly centered on the fact that he's not an amazing MC. While this might be somewhat true, not sure why it's an issue. Quite simply, the guy makes good music. His beats are solid, his flow is solid as well, and his lyrics are honest and thoughtful, if not mind blowing. You would think that would be enough for people, it certainly is for me. Check out this abum.

Posted at 10:26 AM by naedoo :: 1 comments

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At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Marianne MacDonald did sayeth:

You Need Lyrics on your site! Im trying to do an art project and need lyrics for all about you..I cant find them anywhere! Also bigger poster pictures

 

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