Held in New York’s Standard Hotel, Big Sean, who got teary-eyed when introducing the album, was joined by the likes of DJ Khaled, Kid Cudi, Estelle, Pusha T, Swizz Beatz, model Selita Ebanks, radio personalities Miss Info, DJ Clue, DJ Enuff and Angie Martinez, managers Kevin Liles and Jojo Brim, and, of course, mentors Kanye West and No I.D.
The event kicked off with Island Def Jam’s SVP Shawn “Pecas” Costner who asked all the attendees to take their seats before introducing Island Def Jam’s President and COO Steve Bartels. Bartels, who gave an unexpectedly humorous speech, talked about Sean’s start and gave a slew of shoutouts to those “in the house” before bringing Sean out.
The “My Last” rapper hit the stage, sitting in a single white chair and backed by a jumbo screen, which displayed images of the movie Warriors and House Party, among others, and thanked the crowd for showing love. “Thank you to everybody for being here,” he said. “It means more than the world. I’m humbled.” Towards the end, he acknowledged his Detroit childhood friends in the room as his voice cracked with emotion. “I’m not no bitch or nothing, but this is a real moment,” he clarified in tears as the crowd cheered him on.
Sean played the 12-track album from top to bottom, including one of his favorite songs “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” the Lupe Fiasco-assisted “Wait For Me,” “Marvin and Chardonnay,” featuring Kanye West, and crowd-pleaser “Dance (Ass),” which samples MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This.”
Undoubtedly, the production on the set, helmed by Yeezy and No I.D., was the highlight of the LP. It was full of 808s, kick drums, snares, synths and boom-bap. Sean’s swagged out lyrics were crisp and clean throughout the set.
Kanye West, who made a fashionably-late entrance, took the mic at the end, saying a few select words about Sean’s journey. “Just seeing this whole room, it’s amazing to see the next generation being supported… I believe Sean’s story is one of the most amazing ever ’cause he literally got signed off a freestyle,” ‘Ye told the crowd. “He has the potential to be one of the biggest artists in the world. He can be what Beyoncé is to R&B he can be that to rap music.”
‘Ye also paid homage to the album’s producer, No I.D., giving him credit for the success of his and now Sean’s career. “The most important person has to be No I.D.,” he said. “No I.D. is the fucking mentor that balances all this shit out.”
No I.D. took the stage shortly after, thanked everyone for supporting Sean and expressed his gratitude for being able to make his own dreams of becoming a producer possible and now helping cultivate others, like Big Sean, to continue to make G.O.O.D. Music.
“Over time, your legacy gets defined by how many more people you can help extend art, opportunity… I can sit here very proudly and say, yes, another era, another expression of art, another view point, another motivation,” he said. “I want to thank you guys for coming out and supporting the new stars and the old stars and clapping your hands and giving your energy. That means more than anything to me.”—XXL Staff