In a room that held fewer than 60 people sitting tucked away in one of L.A.’s most exclusive venues, The SoHo House, select members of the media were introduced to Big Sean’s highly anticipated follow up to 2013’s Hall Of Fame, his third LP Dark Sky Paradise. The general consensus: Big Sean is ready to make a real run for the throne.

The early evening session was hosted by Sean himself, and kicked off with a brief video montage of the “My Last” MC’s journey from his hometown of Detroit to the Hollywood Hills, followed by a few words about how the tumultuous events of this past year, specifically the loss of his grandmother, went into making an album laced with more passion and emotion than his previous work.

From the opening track, “Dark Sky (Skyscrapers),” it was clear that the G.O.O.D Music standout was on a different level, both lyrically and musically. And with a guest list that includes Lil Wayne, Drake and Kanye West, Sean was never once outshone on a track.

From a production standpoint, Dark Sky Paradise is versatile yet consistent, with hit men like DJ Mustard, Mike WiLL Made It, Boi-1da and, of course, Sean’s label boss, Yeezy (whose “All Your Fault” beat might be one of his all-time greats), all showing off some of their 2015-ready styles.

In a room full of oft-unimpressed Hollywood types luxuriating in velvet chairs, each with its own ottoman, people actually began applauding in between songs and turning up to some of the harder hitting joints.

With the Grammys in town, last year’s stars are being celebrated all weekend long, but on this night it may have been a preemptive celebration for a feat that might be more fulfilling than a Grammy: A hip-hop album that actually exceeds its own hype.

Dark Sky Paradise comes out 2.24.15. —Jake Rohn