With two wins at this year’s East Coast Music Awards, an autobiography hitting bookshelves now and a new acoustic album dropping in January, it seems somehow fitting that rapper and music producer Classified will headline the SuperNova Celebration in Halifax on November 20.
“It’s going to be the biggest East Coast Kitchen Party the province has seen in a couple of years.”
“I think this is something Nova Scotia needs right now,” says the multi-award-winning rapper about the concert organizers are calling ‘Nova Scotia’s biggest live event in almost two years.‘
“It has probably been the toughest two years for a lot of Nova Scotians with the mass shooting and COVID, and I think people forget how important it is to be together,” he continues.
Working with Brookes Diamond Productions, the Nova Scotia-based artist reached out to a few of his Nova Scotia music pals, who were just as excited. The result is a line-up that includes headliners The Trews, Ria Mae, Matt Andersen and JRDN, plus support from other artists across the province.
“It takes place at the city’s biggest arena, and while it is going to be fun for the artists, I want people to come out and feel like they are part of something,” he says. “It’s going to be the biggest East Coast Kitchen Party the province has seen in a couple of years.”
For his part, Classified is reluctant to talk about what he will perform at SuperNova lest he spoils the surprise but promises special guests, a few of his hits and even a few songs he has not yet been able to perform for local audiences.
“Like Good News, which was off my last record,” he says. “We’ve never been able to perform it in Nova Scotia because it came out at the start of COVID.”
But the promise of a party includes more than Classified performing from his discography.
“I want to play some of the hip hop songs I grew up in my life and some rock songs that influenced me,” he says. “As a kid growing up in the 80s in small-town Nova Scotia, hip hop wasn’t a bit thing, so I have a lot of different musical influences.”
The party atmosphere will continue with the others who will perform.
“I’m excited to see all the different genres of music from what I consider some of the best artists in Nova Scotia, all coming together for what will be one very special night,” he says.
“Nova Scotians have made a lot of sacrifices through this pandemic. It’s been a tough year and a half and now it’s time to give ourselves an applause. SuperNova is our chance to celebrate together again with many of our best musical artists.” – event organizer Brookes Diamond.
But while Classified will explore some of his musical influences at SuperNova, those looking to go a little deeper into the musician’s life will want to check out his new autobiography, Off The Beat’ N Path.
An uncensored look at his life, it was a book he began writing just before the pandemic hit and the lockdown helped complete.
An idea he had joked around with friends on tour over the years, a discussion with a publisher on a different project would bring up the idea of writing about his life in Enfield and being a white rapper on Canada’s East Coast.
“This was after Vanilla Ice and before Eminimen and being a white rapper back then was a lot different than what it is now,” he says. “And just coming out of where I came from, I think I had a unique story to tell.”
He also saw the book as an extension of his work as a musician.
“I write a lot of songs about my life, but with the book, I could dig a lot deeper,” he says. “Things like meeting my heroes, my relationship with my wife and my kids, how I came up, and how I was motivated to keep chasing this dream that no one else has ever chased and achieved from the East Coast.”
Far from his story being over, Classified sees Off The Beat’ N Path as a beginning.
“I like the fact that I’m still putting out music and still building on the story,” he says. “This book might be chapter one of a few chapters. Maybe I will write my next one in another 15 years if my life changes a lot and I get a lot more stuff to talk about.”
But while a second book might be a few years away, along with preparing for Supernova, Classified is also putting the finishing touches on his new album Retrospected, which he expects to release in January of 2022.
“It’s all songs from my catalogue, but I brought in different guests to sing over the samples I used,” he says.
From Jann Arden lending her voice to Good News to working with Matt Mays, the new album will feature several artists the rapper has never worked with before. He plans to follow the release with a stripped-down tour with his drum machine and guitar and keyboard players.
“It’s more like storytelling, songs, lyrics,” he says. “You will see a lot more emotion than the typical shows I’ve been doing for the last twenty years.”
But while Retrospected is still a couple of months away, SuperNova audiences will get a sneak peek.
“In the middle of the set, we’ll break down the band, and it will just be my keyboard player and me becoming a bit more intimate,” he says. “It is not about the energy and getting people hyped with their arms up, but it’s really about trying to tell a story and for people to hear that story.”
Classified performs alongside headliners The Trews, Ria Mae, Matt Andersen and JRDN at the SuperNova Celebration at the Scotiabank Centre (1800 Argyle Street, Halifax) on November 20. Tickets are available online at ticketatlantic.ca.