Classified / J-Bru / Chad Hatcher / Mic Boyd / DJ IV The New Palace Cabaret, Halifax NS June 5

Classified / J-Bru / Chad Hatcher / Mic Boyd / DJ IV The New Palace Cabaret, Halifax NS June 5
The Palace was bumping hours before Classified (pictured) took the stage. Somehow, it was perfect — and devilishly clever — that one of Halifax's most popular MCs performed his triumphant homecoming show in one of Halifax's most notorious meat markets. By the time the man finally took the stage, the crowd was fevered enough to tear their clothes off — and most weren't wearing that much to begin with.

After three hours of canned hip-hop, Classified's tour DJ IV took the stage to "warm up" the already steamy crowd. His brief mix of old-school classics was note-perfect. IV, along with openers Chad Hatcher, Mic Boyd and J-Bru accompanied Classified on his most recent cross-Canada tour and, while the MC should be commended for supporting his friends, some of the performances quickly grew tedious. Hatcher quickly undid DJ IV's juddering momentum with a chirpy acoustic set of what sounded like Bedouin Soundclash-lite. J-Bru fared better, delivering heartfelt lyrics about family and love with a bravado that never felt forced. He also capped his set by proposing to his girlfriend onstage — a hard act to beat (she said yes).

Then Classified appeared, followed by a live band, horn and string section, and all the night's opening acts, and proceeded to deliver a whopper of a stage show. The MC launched into an array of songs from his latest album Self Explanatory with his usual vigour. Then the album's guest artists began coming out, including Joel Plaskett, whose lanky pigeon-toed dance moves were both completely out of place and totally endearing, and Maestro Fresh Wes, Choclair and Moka Only, who led a rendition of the album's best song, "Quit While You're Ahead" that brought the house down. Underwear was thrown, spliffs were smoked onstage, and by the end of the night, the Palace was full of blissful faces, energy drinks held aloft, with everyone smiling in the knowledge that they had just seen a real hip-hop show — and now, they could finally go home and get laid.