by / June 19th, 2016 /

Interview: Big Sean..”My shows are fuckin’ hype”

Perhaps the only signee of G.O.O.D Music to get his deal by rapping for Kanye West on the side of the street, Detroit’s Big Sean is an artist who has been making huge waves stateside for a number of years now. He has worked with a who’s who of major players in the music industry and is hot off the release of his number 1 album, Dark Sky Paradise. Never one to rest on his laurels, Big Sean is already in the process of recording the follow up to his third album. Meanwhile he’s also about to kick off a huge European tour with Rihanna. We caught up with him on the phone as he left an Amsterdam museum, to discuss the album, live shows and much more.

What can we expect from the follow up to Dark Sky Paradise?

Well, I’ve been working on it for just under a year. I haven’t been working on it straight because obviously I’ve had tours to do, but I have been spending a lot of time on it. It’s definitely the best work I’ve ever done. I didn’t want to rush it and had to make sure everything was right, with Dark Sky Paradise being what it was. I feel like that was the blueprint for the new album and I was happy to take it to another place.

What producers have been working on it with you?

A lot my in house guys and a lot new producers. My producer Amaire, who did ‘One Man Could Change the World’ on the last album, has been doing phenomenal production on this new one. There’s also DJ Mustard, Key Wane. This list goes on and on, but it’s definitely cohesive and coming along well.

Will you be debuting any of the new material at upcoming shows?

Maybe, you gotta come and see.

What’s your favourite track to perform?

It depends on the day or time. I love performing songs that have a good energy and chorus. Songs like ‘Clique’, ‘IDFWU’, ‘Blessings’. I also like performing new material though too. I put out an E.P with Jhene Aiko in our group Twenty88 and I’m anxious to do those types of songs because I’ve never performed them like that.

Does playing to a crowd that are somewhat unfamiliar with you, such as the Rihanna support slots, inspire you to go harder when performing?

Not necessarily but I appreciate playing to someone else’s core audience. It gives you a chance to win them over and expand. That’s what I enjoy about it, especially in Europe. It’s not like that in the States. I would say I’m more popular there so it’s cool to be able to play stadiums on this type of level. I appreciate her for that.

What has been the proudest achievement of your career so far?

There’s been so many. Buying my mom a house, or having a platinum album, y’know and so forth. It seems like all I ever wanted was platinum songs or hits and now it’s just all so much more.

Does being signed to G.O.O.D Music allow you to take full artistic control of a project?

I don’t know what it’s like to be signed to anyone else. With my last album, I basically did that myself and then gave it to Kanye and he kinda added his expertise and his opinions on certain songs, but it wasn’t too much though. That was the first time I had brought them an album and it was basically all already there. It’s cool that I can make a full body of work myself and I was really surprised with how happy everybody was with it. Ye, Jay-Z, all those guys.

Obviously you’ve already worked with a lot of artists you look up to. Is there one person you’d like to work with that you haven’t already?

Wow that’s tough. Man, I dunno. Someone who I have been working with a lot, but nothing’s all the way figured out, is Bruno Mars. He’s somebody I respect as an artist. He’s talented and has so much soul in his voice. As far as rappers go, I’ve worked with so many, especially the ones I grew up idolising, like Ye, Eminem, Jay-Z, Wayne. It’s funny how life works out. I used to ride to school listening to Dedication 2, Carter 1, Blueprint, College Dropout and Slim Shady LP so it’s crazy when you sit back and analyse it.

Detroit is a massive hub for hip hop. Do you think it has a distinct sound and if so, are you conscious of that when you’re writing music?

I’ve actually been trying to hone in more and more on this project on the essence of Detroit hip hop. There are a few different sides. You’ve got like the Eminem and Royce Da 5’9 side, the super lyrical style. Then you have the J Dilla, Slum Village; kinda like the backpack style of Detroit that really was a blueprint for a lot of artists. Especially J Dilla. Then you have the super gangster rap scene that kinda always stays local, but is major in the city. And then you have the house music that is super popular. It’s kind of a Detroit/Chicago thing. So I’ve really been trying hone in all four in my own way. I feel like I am the child of all that. I’m the next generation of all that mixed into one so I have been trying to make sure that I know where I came from and I am the evolution.

What should people expect from your live show?

I know I’m very calm on the phone, but my live shows are very fuckin’ hype. Expect a lot of energy and people having fun, anthems ringing off in the stadium. It’s gonna be a big ass party man. To be honest there’s not a lot of production on the tour. Sometimes on my tours I have big sets and so many screens. Even Rihanna’s show is very stripped down. It minimalistic but at the same time it’s gonna be super exciting and fun.