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Handshakes and Middle Fingers

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Album Review

Having recently scored his first Top 40 hit 14 years after his debut album, Canadian rapper Luke Boyd, aka Classified, attempts to prove there's more to him than his slightly novelty-ish ode to his homeland with his 14th studio LP, Handshakes and Middle Fingers. Right from the opening "Intro:Ups and Downs," the Nova Scotia native makes it abundantly clear that he has more serious issues on his mind this time round, as he grapples with his insecurities against a backdrop of medieval flutes and violins, while the twisted synth riffs and crunching basslines which soundtrack the blistering dissection of the celebrity lifestyle on "That Ain't Classy," the slightly heavy-handed use of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina news reports on the jazz-hop of "Danger Bay" (which also samples the '80s CBS kids show of the same name), and the eerie, ambient electro and drowsy beats which accompany the tale of battling with the morning after on closer "The Hangover" adds to its rather doom-laden nature. Thankfully, while the rest of the album still maintains their autobiographical nature, Classified does eventually attempt to lighten the mood, as on the twinkling xylophones, languid grooves, and summery acoustics of stoner hip-hop anthem "High Maintenance," the piano-driven soft rock collaboration with Joe Budden, "Unusual," and the vintage soul-sampling "They Don't Know" and "Young Soul," the former of which features a guest vocal from younger brother Mic Boyd). With Classified taking over production duties himself, his experimental tendencies are allowed to roam free, taking in hazy folk-pop ("The Day Doesn't Die"), Middle Eastern-tinged R&B ("Maybe It's Just Me"), and smooth G-Funk ("Stay Cool"), an admirable attempt at genre-hopping but one which lacks the finesse or cohesion to compete with the likes of Kanye West and B.o.B. Classified's second major-label album may occasionally evoke images of a kid in a sweet shop, but that doesn't take away from the inventiveness and refreshingly candid lyrics that permeate a record which is definitely more worthy of a handshake than a middle finger. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Not enough Stars!!

Like it says In my Title not enough stars to rate!! If your a Class fan get this album now... What are you waiting for stop reading this Review an buy this Album!!! 15songs!! Of pure greatness for only 9.99$..... Great from begging to end.....

This is Classy

Halifax Rapper/Producer Classified Comes Full Cirlcle in this Classic installment from HalfLife Records. Reppin Canada .

Great album

Again Classified just amazed me with his new album. Keep up the great work Class and bringing us some great music


Born: December 13, 1977

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Whether signed or unsigned, award-winning Canadian hip-hop artist Classified never abandoned his ethos of working hard. The Nova Scotian MC, whose real name is Luke Boyd, steadily built his career from the independent circuit on up to national prominence, developing into a highly respected MC and desired producer. By his ninth studio album, Trial & Error (2003), this average guy from the rap-deficient Maritimes (including New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia) informally became the...
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Handshakes and Middle Fingers, Classified
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