Classified – While You Were Sleeping

Classified - While You Were Sleeping Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Nathan Atnikov

While You Were Sleeping is a collection of unreleased tracks to whet fans’ appetites before Classified’s summer 2008 release of new material. The album is full of well-disguised sentimental love letters. As sentimental as Classified gets, anyway. He serenades hip-hop (‘This is For’), his hometown (‘Maritimes’), and of course, girls (‘Love the One You’re With’).

The songs go all the way back to his 1995 demos, and to his credit, if the years weren’t provided you wouldn’t be able to identify which are the earlier songs. Throughout his career, Classified has kept his trademark delivery of not so much rapping the lyrics but barking them into the mic. The only exception is ‘Flash Backs,’ on which Classified allows the laidback R&B beat carry the song.

At 22 tracks, the retrospective is (overly) thorough, but is a terrific argument for Classified being a mainstay in the country’s indie hip-hop set.