Published Apr 12, 2013Have you ever wondered what you might get if you combine hip-hop and a Maritime kitchen party? Last night, as Halifax's Classified took the stage at Club 9one9, an excited and enthusiastic packed house got an idea of what that might look like and it included fellow Halifax hip-hop artists Quake and Kayo (who opened the show). Quake was first on stage and even though he has gained recognition from The Source and CBC, initially his rhymes seemed superficial, appealing to the young crowd. The lyrics "I don't need chase when I'm getting fucked up," were echoed back by the audience, and it wasn't until Quake broke from the party anthems to what he described as a "deep" song that the crowd got to hear why he has found himself on tour with one of Canada's hip-hop greats. The track featured samples from Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight," which surprisingly the young fans knew the words to. At the end of Quake's set he invited Kayo to join him, after two songs together, Quake left Kayo to entertain the stage. The young rapper's energy and excitement radiated through the crowd igniting screams and hands in the air, which seemed to overwhelm him at moments. Kayo's fast rhymes combined with singing created great stage presence that allowed him to dominate the stage on his own.
While the eager Classified fans waited for him to take the stage, the numbers inside the club seemed to swell and by the time DJ IV — Classified's DJ — hit the turntables, the audience was chanting in hopes he would appear. Sampling Snoop Dog and Notorious B.I.G., drummer Mark Bachynski joined IV on stage; it would be nearly 15 minutes before Classified would finally appear. The perfect moment for him to start would have been after the DJ played the intro to Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name Of" but it was followed by an awkward pause and then more music from DJ IV. Eventually, the main act appeared on stage, joined by his brother Mike Boyd, who accompanied Classified for the rest of the set. The song list was put together much like any other, a mix of tracks from old and new albums keeping both the long time and new fans satisfied. But a sign of the theatrics that would be used throughout the show began during his tribute to home The Maritimes," where he, Boyd and one other guy handed drinks out to the crowd for a kitchen party atmosphere. Later the same three handed out joints to the audience as the air got thick with pot smoke. Entertaining rhymes, clever DJ samples and the energy of live instruments were enough on their own to create a memorable show but with the constant on-stage chatter about sound problems, feedback in the speakers and what I found to be unnecessary theatrics (including a game show that combined The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune) prevented a seamless show by a seasoned artist.