Canadian rapper Luke Boyd aka Classified releases his second major album release 'Handshakes And Middle Fingers' on Sony Music Canada; however, this is his fourteenth release on his own production label Half Life Records, highlighting what a great underground artist this rapper is. Having gained musical acclaim in the industry through his recent work and gained a strong reputation in the hip hop game, Classified is positioning himself for a shot in the mainstream.
Having created fourteen albums and self promoting oneself, Classified is not going to sell out with a major release and this is evident on 'Handshakes And Middle Fingers'. There is a genuine hip hop integrity that displays true vocal and lyrical skills that give him definite credibility. The production and slickness of the sound is evident and truly shows a man of experience who is showcasing his sound well. Tracks like 'Stay Cool' have strong crossover appeal - strong in a hip hop sense - and definitely shows the class of a sophisticated artist. With the help of Joe Budden on 'Unusual' and Brother Ali on 'Maybe It's Just Me', Classified uses featured artists well yet still remains the dominant artist on the album.
Overall, 'Handshakes And Middle Fingers' is a cool album that Classified should be proud of! The move to a major hasn't dampened the spirit of this artist and I think this is a good signing for Sony. With the amount of hip hop artists in the mainstream using pop and r'n'b as a way to sell records, Classified sticks to his integrity to create a 'real' hip hop album, with all the Canadian freedom that makes some artists from this region seem original. Good work!