Okay, here is the deal. One of my students years ago introduced me to Classified and I have been slowly catching up on his music ever since. While I do not know the man personally, I feel that I know a lot about him as much of his music is autobiographical. In addition, I am a musician and a perfectionist (hard to please) and Luke is constantly impressing me with his art and his integrity. He is a stand-up MC that speaks his mind. Family, friends, Canada and hip hop mean everything to him and he doesn't need any secret lingo to "spit it," he just keeps writing beautiful, potent lines. So, I have been presenting Class to my classes for years. I just finished marking some final exams for a class called Canadian Popular Music at Seneca College in King City, Ontario. The essay question was:
Select one or two of the Canadian artists/band we have discussed in Weeks 11-13 and discuss it in reference to one or more of the following topics: 1) authenticity, 2) being Canadian, 3) indie sound, and/or 4) popular music.
WITH PERMISSION, SOME OF THE STUDENT'S COMMENTS:
"Throughout his music and his life, Classified displays how Canadian rap artists can show their authenticity in their music . . . through making original beats for his songs and commenting on real life struggles experienced by all. . . . Classified also showcases how proud be is to be Canadian by setting up his label in Nova Scotia, filming his music videos around Canada, and dedicating certain songs to Canada. Classified is an artist who I knew very little information about previous to this class. After hearing his music, he is now an artist who I will listen to on a regular basis."
"One of the reasons Classified has music that attracts a large audience is because he has remained authentic and true to himself (not to mention he makes sick beats) and represents where he came from very well."
"Classified took the Canadian national anthem and produced a song to fit in today's more modern society. In the song called "Oh-Canada" [sic], he represents Canada by the Canadian flag, the slang that is used and the scenery of Canada today. Enjoy the fact that he seems to me to be children centred."
"In the beginning of Luke's career he would rap about the ideal "man" and how they should be. Honestly, that's what rap use to be about. However, Classified said he didn't always want to write about "men," instead he started to incorporate his music with the problems he is going through and his feelings. He demonstrates great authenticity by maintaining when he comes from. In his videos, you can see how real and passionate his emotions are. . . . Luke Boyd comes from the heart and is so passionate in what he brings to the music industry. It's great to have real Canadian rappers that are so original and raw."
Terror comes in many forms. Most recently it snuck up on me most innocently and pounced from the calendar on the fridge. Yep, just turned to January and I let out a blood-curdling scream. What! My new university position starts next week and that same week, I travel to Louisville to present research?
Ahhh, Christmas - you lull us into this turkey/eggnog haze and while we doze with nightmares of the responsibilities ahead, time slips by. Oh boy - that was dark. Better get the computer out of the basement. :0
Today I have chosen to stay put and work on school, research, this web site and this-and-that. My family is going to visit with the extended family. Lots of guilt on my part but I am going to let that go. The life/work balance is always difficult and everyone has to figure out what is best for them. If I can get the "monkey off my back" or at least exchange it for a smaller monkey, I will be a better father, husband and person. I will miss the fam and look forward to their return.
Today was a good day, not a great day, but a good day. If my evil team of ego and ambition can take a break from pummeling me daily, I can learn to aim for a good day. Drove to the "Hammer," took a nap, cleaned the house, marked some essays, and clocked some quality family time - a good day.
You know the saying, "If you put your mind to it, you can do anything?" There is a lot to that, especially with the help of like minds around the world through the internet. Seriously. Want to build house? Google it and find how others have done it. I have surprised myself in what I can accomplish around the house. My latest project was tearing out our old closet and building a new one just the way we wanted it, with the clothes racks and shelves. Very fulfilling and surprisingly quick to do. I will not be building a house anytime soon. Still have an itch to tackle the "F.R.O.G." and convert the attic. We'll see.
My first peer-review article "Inclusivity and Adversity in Jazz Education: A Case Study of Paul Read" was just published in the fall 2015 edition of the Canadian Music Educator (57,1). I will post it shortly. Picture of Paul Read to the right. Do not be mislead by the Peer Review Corner heading, it was not edited in any way, other than the usual peer-review process. This is either good or bad, depending on whether you like the writing. If you have ever tried to get anything published, it is a long and tedious process. When it does happen, you can either be elated or you can just feel numb. I feel both - is that possible? I am jazzed that I have something out there for people to read and numb to the fact that I need to join the circus again, start performing and wait for the reviewer's applause. What only 1 of 3 audience members clapped? Well, on to the next circus ;)
Dr. Michael Kearns
Musician, educator, husband, father, web designer ... my life is like a mosaic with each piece vying for my attention.