Sean’s G.O.O.D. Music stablemates are impressed with how he’s handled himself throughout that time. “When I first met him, he was like, ‘It’s taking me a while to put this out,’” says Pusha T. “But what I noticed and admired about him was that it never went further than that. He’d make a statement like that and follow it with, ‘Man, I’m just about to get back on my grind… I’m about to go write some shit.’”
While Sean opted out of college, his music and style carry a distinct appeal for kids who didn’t. He frequently performs on campuses around the country, to great adoration.
“I live in a college town,” Pusha says of his Virginia Beach home’s proximity to schools like Old Dominion and Norfolk State. “I’ve been at shows with Sean and I see how they react to him. They, like, love him… In a nutshell, Big Sean is the coolest guy on campus who’s not on campus.”
With his album Finally Famous: The Album finally scheduled to hit stores in May, Big Sean is excited about taking part in what he sees as rap’s new breed—a new class of young, exciting hip-hop artists who are ushering in a new chapter in history. He calls it the “Internet era” and lists Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole and Lil B among those he not only respects as artists, but sees as friends. Unlike in past eras, when rappers were more competitive in nature, today’s young pack are eager to collaborate with one another. “It’s bullshit to be on some petty, dumb stuff, man,” he says. “I kind of see myself in every artist I run across. I wouldn’t want anybody shitting on me. I want them to show me the most love possible.”
That’s why Sean never got mad when he heard so many rappers employing the one-word punch-line flow that made Kanye’s ears perk up all those years ago. “When Drake admitted, like, ‘Yo, I got that from Big Sean,’ that gave me a lot of light, and I realized that I got the power to change hip-hop.” By now, though, he’s off that. Sean says you won’t hear that flow on his new album.
Currently preparing for a summer tour with Wiz Khalifa, Sean is hitting the streets, selling out shows in local markets, signing autographs for as many fans as he can until the venue kicks him out. “I talk a lot of shit in my rhymes, like I’m cocky, but as a person, I’m humble,” Sean says. “I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity to make it out the west side of Detroit, to do what I love and live my dreams. I just want to say thank you. I just also want everybody to know, man, they gotta follow they heart, because you don’t want to look back on your life when you’re 60 and wonder, woulda coulda shoulda did something. The time is now, man.” —Hyun Kim