It was an all Canadian affair at the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre last night as Classified‘s tour bus rolled into Montreal for the final show of the Greatful Tour. Hailing from Nova Scotia, Classified has been a mainstay in the Canadian rap game for more than a decade. Fresh off the release of his fifteenth (yes 15th!!) studio album, Greatful, he has proven once again that Canadian hip-hop has a lot more to offer than just Drake (don’t get me wrong, we know it’s the summer of Drake). On the only night of the year when our clocks actually spring forward, Classified brought us back in time for a little lesson on the roots of hip-hop and what it really means to be an MC!
Saturday night began with a short set from Toronto native, JD Era. Not holding anything back, JD proved why he has collaborated with HUGE names, including Nas, Drake and a number of Wu-Tang Clan affiliates. Keeping the showcase of Canadian talent rolling, west coast rapper SonReal, was up next to gain some new Montreal fans. Still touring in support of last year’s For the Town EP, SonReal effortlessly rapped single after single, including the project’s tracks “Preach” and “Whoa Nilly“. As an artist who puts a lot of time and energy into his music videos, it came as no surprise that his live show is equally entertaining.
With what seems like multiple concerts every year, Classified is no stranger to Montreal and has put in his share of work to build a strong following in our city. A packed Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre was evidence of that. Backed by a full band, including one brother on guitar and the other acting as his hype-man, Classified played an hour and a half set jam packed with hits from his extensive back catalogue. As much as he is an entertainer, thriving off the crowds energy and covering every inch of the stage, the veteran rapper stresses the importance of lyricism and spreading a message to a wider audience. Taking a breather between songs to shout out his kids and show some love to all the moms and dads in attendance, Classified instilled a sense of mutual respect across the venue. Adding to those vibes was the Greatful track “Work Away”, which was dedicated to all those who have to leave their hometown to make a living. As Classified put it “Rapping is the only way to make it big in Nova Scotia.”
Looking extremely comfortable on stage, the band members definitely pulled their weight throughout the night, including a questionable yet entertaining rendition of R. Kelly’s Ignition (Remix) by the groups drummer. In typical Classified fashion, he invited a lucky fan on stage to help him out with his 2006 track “All About You“. Little to say, she absolutely killed it!! The oldies kept coming right through to the end of the show, including the ode to our great nation “Oh Canada“, before a medley of crowd pleasures during the encore. Once again, Classified has proven himself as one of Canada’s most thought provoking rappers. If you missed out on last night or any of his past shows, don’t worry Classified isn’t going anywhere!
Watch Classified’s new video for the Snoop Dogg featuring track “No Pressure”