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Who's opening the Junos? That's Classified...

Classified and his crew practice for a performance at the Junos broadcast on Sunday, April 18.

In the midst of all the Juno hustle and bustle, thrice-nominated Classified was kind enough to give us a few minutes.  Nominated for rap recording, video and single of the year, this east-coast MC will be performing during the awards ceremony and making appearances all over town.  In the lobby of the busy Delta hotel, Classified showed us how to handle criticism, love our country and stay away from Facebook.

VO: You're nominated for rap album of the year, up against K'naan and does that feel?

It doesn't intimidate me, it's not like, argh, I gotta win this, I think it's wicked, the amount of Canadian hip-hop, the three of us playing on the show, that's crazy.  Just to have one hip-hop artist performing at the Junos, back in the day, would have been nuts.  To have the three of us be on TV, that's just good for the whole scene, that's wicked.

VO: How much does it mean to you to get a Juno?

It'd be cool, don't get me wrong.  I've been nominated a couple of times, it would be good to win one.  I'm honestly more excited just to be playing on the show. 

VO: Do you think the process of choosing Juno winners is fair, or is it too political?
Everything's political. That's life, that's the world.  It doesn't bother me, I've been doing this for a while, I've gotten used to it.  Things happen the way they do, usually for a reason that makes sense. 

At the end of the day I think everybody, especially in the hip-hop category, has really great music so it could go anywhere, and that's what I like about this year.  Usually in the rap category there's one artist that everybody knows is going to win, but this year I think it could go a lot of different ways.  Good competition makes things better.

Classified braves the blowing snow on George Street in St. Johns

VO: You're from Nova Scotia, so how does it feel to be here on your home coast?
Yeah, I'm in my backyard...I'm here all the time so this is awesome, this is like my hometown up here.  We've been here since Thursday, been doing a lot of soundchecks, down on George Street enjoying the night.  I'm from Halifax so it's pretty close, there's like, fifteen of us up here so we're just out having a good time.

VO: Your music video Anybody Listening includes a lot of Banksy and Obey-inspired imagery, how has this been received by the graffiti community?

Everyone gets upset about everything, it doesn't matter what you do in an art form, someone gets upset about it.  I remember reading on YouTube, someone saying, "Oh that's Banksy, he ripped it off," but the director Harv put it all together. 

When he told me the idea, I'd never heard of Banksy before but he said his stuff was amazing, and wanted to put it throughout the video.  And now people are talking about it, I've learned about him, if people are hating on him they're usually just anal.

VO: One St. John's journalist Adam Clarke gave you a real hard time about it.
He said a bunch of stupid shit, like "I hope this makes him more street."  Like I'm a street artist: if you knew my music and what I represent I'm the farthest thing away from the streets.  Just stupid remarks like, "Oh Phil Collins, don't you know that he's not cool?"  Okay dude.  Whatever, it's just funny.

VO: Your single "Oh Canada" is pretty nationalistic, are you a patriotic guy?
I'm proud of where I come from. I'm not gonna act like I know all about our politics and everything like that 'cause I don't follow that stuff, but I love where I'm from. I've travelled the world and seen a lot of places that are really unfortunate.  Where we come from and the way people are around here, it's just a good place to be from. 

VO: You have 45,000 fans  on Facebook. How interactive are you with the social networking?
I get on there a little bit, I did that facebook things for about a week and it was just too much.  The twitter things is a little more loose, you can just post up what you're doing so I do that.  I'm still on the myspace thing, I always check my messages and stuff.

VO: We saw you practicing an outdoor performance for the broadcast; what's the plan?
I'm opening the show.  I don't know if I'm supposed to say that.  We're doing "Oh Canada" on George Street, it's gonna be the start of the Junos.  I can't wait.  We've done so much this weekend already but that's what I'm excited about.

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