Classified | Hand Shakes and Middle Fingers

Decon (2011)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  May 12, 2011
3.5 3.5 Stars

clfd main

Classified is to Canada what Jay-Z is to the States in that both are pre-eminent rappers in their respective countries. But the parallels end there. Class is white to Jay's black, humble to Hova's haughty, and stoned to Jigga's sober. With his exposure growing exponentially on each outing (and being compounded by last year's Olympics-friendly "O Canada" remix), the Nova Scotia producer/MC is the closest thing our neighbors have to a rap star — which isn't much like an American rap star at all. On his 14th solo outing, Class continues to live and learn out loud, sharing deep, personal tribulations about everything from business to fatherhood without sounding preachy. On the production side, Class has, as usual, some tracks that clubs can bang to; but for the most part, Hand Shakes is a chill album fit for hammock hangs and long blunt cruises. Some bombs, like the super-trite "Danger Bay," are lame enough to knock the rating down a bit. But winners like the learned "Unusual" with Joe Budden and the Brother Ali–assisted instant classic "Maybe It's Just Me" are enough to make any levelheaded US citizen salute the maple leaf. 

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Music Reviews, hip-hop,  More more >
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