Big Sean just released his impressive sophomore effort, Hall Of Fame, on Tuesday. Though Kanye West, who serves as a mentor for the Detroit MC, was noticeably not on the album, his influence and blueprint can be heard. That’s not to say Sean didn’t take any risks on his own, trusting his gut feeling to create music he feels is inspirational for his listeners. Here, Sean tells XXL how ‘Ye’s advice helped shape Hall Of Fame and even reveals the instrumental to “Fire” (produced by No I.D.) was actually intended for West.—As Told To Eric Diep (@E_Diep)
“I love to take what people have to offer. But most importantly, I listen to what I feel in my heart. Sometimes when I didn’t listen to my heart and things weren’t working out like I wanted to. I made a promise to myself, especially after this album, I always listen to my heart. Always go with what I believe in. That’s one of the things [Kanye West] taught me indirectly without even saying. Just from his actions. He’s the best. Kanye West is the best. Nobody can argue with that.
“You gotta take risks at some point. You live and you learn. He had a lot to do with this like DONDA and his company. The music. He was the reason that my album packaging looked so good. It’s such a conceptual album packaging. Everything from the music and the videos all went together so well. It really felt like a real project. He’s the reason I have a “Fire” beat. He gave me the beat for “Fire.” He had it and he loved it, but [he said], ‘I think this will be great for you.’ He gave me input on songs like “Nothing Is Stopping You.” I used his voice on “Nothing Is Stopping You.” He gave me a lot of input, the songs he liked. What were his favorite, what were his least favorite. All that. It’s just great. He’s a great dude and he let’s you be artistic.”