Essentials… with Classified

Each week, Essentials allows Canadian music industry figures to share the things that have helped get them through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them. Here are the choices of an East Coast hip-hop luminary.


Regarded as one of Canada’s most respected and successful rap artists, producers and songwriters, Classified led the charge for East Coast hip-hop in the 1990s, racking up multi-platinum sales and Juno Awards, while collaborating with some of the biggest artists in the field, including Snoop Dogg, Raekwon and Royce 5’9.

In 2021, he decided the time was right to tell the full story of how the music transformed him from Luke Boyd of Enfield, Nova Scotia into a top-selling rapper with the book Off The Beat ’N Path. The candid memoir explores every step of Classified’s rise, while emphasizing the work ethic that allowed him to remain in Canada rather than relocate to hip-hop hotbeds in New York or Los Angeles.

As a follow up to the book’s success, Classified is preparing to release Retrospected, an album that will present much of his best-loved material in an acoustic setting. The first single, All About You, is available now through Half Life/Universal and features Nova Scotia singer/songwriters Breagh Isabel and Brett Matthews.

For more information on Classified, go here 

Essential Album: Cordae, From A Bird’s Eye View (Art@War/Atlantic, 2022)

I’m loving the old-school-style beats, and the fact he’s a young guy dropping some knowledge. There are great vibes on this album.

Essential Book: Classified, Off The Beat ’N Path (MacIntyre Purcell Publishing, 2021)

I had to choose my own book because it was the main thing I was reading last year as it got ready for publication! But I just finished reading Slash’s biography, [Slash, HarperCollins, 2007]. I love reading musicians’ bios and hearing the tour stories and the different problems they had on the come up. I’m interested in hearing about the human side of these old-school rock stars. 

Essential TV: Yellowstone (Paramount, 2018-present)

My wife wanted to watch it, so I gave it a try. The first season was pretty damn slow, but the second season has been pretty awesome. I didn’t expect to get into cowboy life in the States and all the problems they have trying to keep the tradition alive in a world that’s moving away from all of it. 

Essential Movie: Don’t Look Up (2021)

I loved this movie! First off, I loved the thought process behind it. It talks about how we are not paying attention to the big picture. Instead, we’re focused and worried about the small issues in this world, when we should be addressing the things that are really going to dictate our kids’ future and generations beyond. I really enjoyed the way the movie kept poking fun at today’s society and, hopefully, it wakes some of us up!

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