Is Big Sean Really Finally Famous? on: July 6, 2011, 14:06
It has been a whole week since the debut of the first project to appear the newly merged G.O.O.D. Music (owned by Kanye West) and Island Def Jam records. Sean Michael Anderson or better known by his alias, Big Sean, released his premiere studio album "Finally Famous" on June 28th. Normally, reviews on albums this big should follow immediately after their inception, however, with how much that was invested into this album and keeping in mind that Big Sean is the prodigy of arguably the game's biggest star, Kanye West, I figured that it would be appropriate to give the album a couple more listens, before giving a verdict. Def Jam did everything it could to make this album a mega hit and made sure that their young prodigy in Big Sean would have all of the backing necessary to make his debut the potential Hip-Hop album of the summer, if not the year. I know this might sound bold, but when you have Kanye West, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Lupe Fiasco, No I.D., Wiz Khalifa, John Legend, The Neptunes, and Pusha T, just to name a few, you are making a statement. Sean's album has no shortage of superstars and features some of the game's heaviest hitters. Def Jam wanted to make a pretty big splash on this album when the blueprints for it were being drawn up and with how much publicity, hype, and time that has been put into this project, they are no doubt trying to make Sean a mainstay of their Hip-Hop label.
Big Sean's "Finally Famous" debuts at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, selling 87,000 copies in its first week on the shelves. The album is also considered to be the official release of the "Finally Famous" series that is an extension of the Detroit rapper's "Finally Famous" mixtape trilogy. Although the album was pushed back for months, it is here at last, and appears that it is just the tip of the iceberg of things to come for Def Jam's new golden child. Anderson, just 23 years old, is slowly turning into one of the game's biggest young Hip-Hop artists and the California born, Detroit native, is eager to show the world why he is now "Finally Famous". Last year Young Money and Lil Wayne had Drake's, "Thank Me Later", which turned out to be a huge success. Keeping in mind the way Young Money handled Drake's release, this year Yeezy and Def Jam wanted to do it even bigger.
Sean is often heralded as having pioneered his own style of rapping which is known as "hashtag rap". His technique involves removing "likes" and "as" from metaphors and similes in punchlines. This style has made him increasingly popular and has allowed him to develop his own sound that is unique in comparison to some of the harder acts that have come from Detroit, ie. Eminem, D12, and Obie Trice. His style is original from some of the better known Detroit rap acts because he takes such an alternative approach to not only how he strings bars together, but how he carries himself. He wears skinny jeans, he is almost never seen without a snapback hat on, and is all about being stylish, fashion forward, and a step ahead. Rarely, if ever does he rap about toting nines or pushing weight. Rather, he sheds light on the struggles of growing up on the Westside of Detroit, looking fresh, and taking your girl while doing both. You'd have an easier chance finding Sean on the side of a fashion shoot working on his new clothing line than seeing or hearing him on the next battle track. Which is no surprise seeing who his mentor is and the heavy affiliation that Kanye has on the fashion industry. This being said, it doesn't mean that Sean isn't capable of spewing venom, he is actually one of the best young guns at doing just that, however, on this album it seems that he didn't take enough risks. The album definitely has its fair share of bangers and Sean's lyrical prowess on the mic is not missed when he decides to go off. But there are a couple of songs that he misses his mark on, which is not uncommon for a debut album. But for an inaugural effort, he definitely connects the dots and delivers his message effectively. He is flamboyant, but maintains a level of modesty that he attributes to his trials and tribulations of becoming famous.
By nature, Sean is cocky--that is what makes him such a great mixtape rapper. He is punky but has enough swag to pull it off. Yet, he is not overly confident, he is humble in the right regards. In the album, he gives homage to his early upbringing and the sounds of Detroit and Mo-Town that he grew up on. President of G.O.O.D. Music, No I.D., (who is also a mentor of Kanye's and considered to be the "Godfather" of the Chicago Hip-Hop scene), handled the production responsibilities on the album and incorporates an eclectic array of samples ranging from Wilson Pickett, to Ellie Goulding, to MC Hammer.
The album can be listened to in it's entirety (something that is a rarity these days). If you were to purchase the "Deluxe Edition" off of iTunes, it has four extra tracks, a music video, and additional artwork. Big Sean starts off with "I Do It", which is by far the hardest track on the album and in my opinion shows his true finesse with his lyrics. Next is "My Last" featuring Chris Brown, which is also the album's first single. This song is impressive because it shows Sean's diversity outside of his usual forte of mixtape freestyling and it goes to prove to people that he is more than just a mixtape rapper. This song is probably the most radio friendly of the album and has a poppier vibe that can be played wherever. He goes an extra level on "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" by showing his more emotional side, but then comes right back with "Wait For Me" featuring Lupe Fiasco, which presents the life of a pop star and the pressures of becoming famous. This track is ironic because Fiasco and Sean are rapping about what Fiasco tried not to be for so long--a pop star. Sean misses his mark on "Dance" and "Get it", but "Marvin & Chardonnay" featuring Kanye West and Roscoe Dash is surely the album's prized track. It is a track that can be played in the club or in the car and has the ability to appeal to both hard-core audiences as well as to more poppy crowds. From Flint to Grand Rapids. He then follows these listed tracks with maybe the deepest song of the album, his collaboration with John Legend on "Memories, Pt. 2", on which they discuss the coming and going of friends and enemies as well as Sean's fears about what the future might bring. However, the sensation of this track is shortly lost when Sean, Wiz, and Chiddy Bang collaborate on "High", which is solely about being--blazed. Is it a coincidence that the song is four minutes and twenty seconds long? This track despite the lyrical talent that is on it is weak, stale, and predictable. At this point my feelings over the album were mixed, until I listened to the final six songs of the album, which I thought were the strongest. He connects to his roots with "So Much More" that is a heartfelt song about his childhood and his love for Detroit, similar to the effect that West achieved on "Homecoming" with Chris Martin and "100 Keys" gives a different street demeanor to the LP by including Pusha T and Rick Ross, seemingly pushing Sean and encouraging his thug lyrics.
Overall, "Finally Famous" is a success. But Sean has to be wary of not upsetting critics and his fan base with too many cocky antics. It is one thing to have confidence, it is another to flaunt oneself in other people's faces. Too many times does he give himself praise and self applause for achievements that are frivolous. For example, touting himself as having the game around his finger, “I got the whole rap game tryin’ to sound like me,” or “Greatest of all Bigs/Greatest of all Seans,”. There is no doubt that Big Sean is a young talent who possesses at times brilliance behind the mic, however, despite his past successes in the realm of mixtapes and freestyles, this is merely his first effort at a studio album, and he had the help of an entire label, as well as a handful of the game's best talent behind him. He had the best help money could buy and the keys to the kingdom to assemble his finished product. It is a fantastic piece of work, but nothing close to a masterpiece and he has a long way to go before becoming the "greatest of all BIGs". While having as many superstars as he had on the album helped him in many respects, in my opinion he was outmatched and sounded lost at times attempting to hold court with some of the better artists on his album. Is this Big Sean's album or a collaboration album? Should the hype be solely given to Big Sean or to the vast array of artists he collaborated with?
It is without a doubt a must listen. Despite some of its shortcomings, it is still one of the better crafted Hip-Hop albums from start to finish made in the past year. But after all, it is hard not to wow people with the silky soul beats and the production genius of No I.D. and Kanye. Never the less, it is meaningful that Big Sean proved people with this release that he is more than just a mixtape rapper. For now, Big Sean is "Finally Famous" for better or for worse and looks like he is here to stay. He has bridged the gap between being a top search on datpiff or the latest trendy music blog, to being a staple and a pivotal piece to an entire label. He has the keys to the palace, let's see what he does with them.
On his next project, he has said to have started recording with Common and Nas on a future collaboration album. Check out more from Big Sean below...
Tracklist for "Finally Famous"
01 Intro (prod. Kevin Randolph, Key Wane)
02 I Do It (prod. No I.D., The Legendary Traxster)
03 My Last f. Chris Brown (prod. No I.D.)
04 Don’t Tell Me You Love Me (prod. No I.D.)
05 Wait For Me f. Lupe Fiasco (prod. No I.D., Exile)
06 Marvin & Chardonnay f. Kanye West & Roscoe Dash (prod. Pop Wansel, Mike Dean)
07 Dance (A$$) (prod. Da Internz)
08 Get It (DT) f Pharrell (prod. The Neptunes)
09 Memories pt.2 f. John Legend (prod. No I.D.)
10 High f. Wiz Khalifa & Chiddy Bang (prod. Xaphoon Jones)
11 Live This Life f. The-Dream (prod. No I.D.)
12 So Much More (prod. No I.D.)
13 What Goes Around (prod. No I.D.) [Bonus]
14 Celebrity f. Dwele (prod. Filthy Rockwell, No I.D.) [Bonus]
15 My House (prod. Boi-1da) [Bonus]
16 100 Keys f. Rick Ross & Pusha T (prod. WrighTrax Productions) [Bonus]
Re: Is Big Sean Really Finally Famous? on: July 7, 2011, 12:27
Check out Big Sean on the set of the new Hype Williams video, "Marvin and Chardonnay". "Marvin and Chardonnay" is the title of the second official single off "Finally Famous" featuring Kanye West and Roscoe Dash. He and Sway Calloway talk wardrobes, fashion, and the feeling of working with a legend and perhaps the industry's best music video director, Hype Williams.
Re: Is Big Sean Really Finally Famous? on: July 7, 2011, 14:10
Great write up. This is exactly what I expected from Big Sean's major label debut and will probably be one of the more heralded releases this summer. It seems like the type of music we all want to hear from our favorite artists are gonna be limited to their mixtapes though. Albums are meant to expand an artists current fan base (Rolling Papers) and are never gonna have the lyrical content that true hip-hop fans are seeking. With that said though this is definitely a good album and has the necessary bangers to be a main stream success. This was a dope write up Young Campbell.
Re: Is Big Sean Really Finally Famous? on: July 19, 2011, 16:59
The one and only--glossy, flossed out, Big Sean tells you how he does it in probably his most lyrical song of his debut album..."I Do It"...
"I’m Quagmire I f-ck hoes, My cashflow I giggity-giggity it, Boy, I’m cock-a-mania, The most zaniest, insaniant, Pulling up in Merced-iance, Rolling up like I’m Damian, I love girls that Arabian, Albanian, caucasian, I ride around gettin cranium cause my dick is hard as titanium, Oh boy you had your chance, and blew it (you blew it), Stand aside and watch a real n-*%a do it"
Re: Is Big Sean Really Finally Famous? on: August 11, 2011, 16:06
Well after seeing this commercial and scoping the new 2011 line for Adidas, it appears that he really is finally famous. Featured alongside Snoop Dogg, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, and the Adidas skate team, Big Sean stands in front for Adidas and their new approach towards their new line of apparel. Check out the new ad...
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