Among the many artist showcases, events and panels going on at SXSW this year, CRWN held a special edition of its live interview series featuring Big Sean. The discussion was a main attraction. The conference room in the Austin Convention Center was packed with fans and industry folk wanting to see the G.O.O.D. Music rapper open up about his early career, his current album Dark Sky Paradise, writing process and much more. In about a 50 minute sit-down with Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson, the 26-year-old rapper maintained his outgoing personality to the audience, cracking jokes about his homie Wale and the vulgarity of his lyrics at times.  It was both informative and entertaining. HipHopDX was part of the audience and we jotted down nine things we learned from Big Sean’s most candid interview yet.

He Listened To Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly And Respected It

Big Sean recently tweeted that there’s been some great rap albums dropping and he appreciates the music coming out from his peers. K. Dot’s To Pimp a Butterfly is a hot topic this week, and Sean heard the project and respected how it was different than Dark Sky Paradise. “It’s like a whole different vibe,” he said. “I appreciate people’s different perspectives. Just the musicality is just completely different. The same goes for everybody—Kendrick’s, Cole’s. It’s like everybody put their own flavor to it. We all bring something different to the table.”

All Of His Collaborators Understood His Vision For Dark Sky Paradise

Released in February, Dark Sky Paradise received raving reviews for the album’s cohesion, as well as the fact that many of his collaborators meshed well with his style. Sean says he personally met with all his guest features—everyone from Kanye West to the producers—to share his vision and how to properly executive it. Many of them flew out to Detroit to record at his home studio. “Everybody just brought their A-game,” he said.

He Regrets Releasing Detroit Before His Second Album Hall of Fame…Sort Of

It’s become widely known among most Big Sean fans that Detroit was a lot better than his sophomore effort Hall of Fame. Even Sean agrees: “Yeah, I fucked up, man,” he joked. He explained that he trusted the opinions of his team, but is still proud of what he accomplished with Hall of Fame. “I just think it was a different kind of album,” he said. “I just feel like it was a different type of music. I never want to give the same shit over and over. I think that’s just like that’s not the move.” He further added, “. I know it didn’t sell as much as Dark Sky Paradise and all that. I still felt like it meant a lot to me. Certain songs on there that I connected with.”

His Misogynistic Lyrics Are Meant To Encourage

Catchphrases like “Ho, shut the fuck up!” and “I don’t fuck with you!” have become common things to shout out when either “All Me” or “IDFWU” plays on the radio or DJ sets. However, there’s a misconception that Sean’s abrasive lyrics can be viewed as some type of hatred against women. This is completely false, according to him. “When I saw something like a little bitch, it could be a guy. That could be anybody. There are dudes out here that are more bitches than anybody. But the point is, I make music for people to relate to,” he said. Specifically, he explains the reception of his Billboard-charting smash: “I think “IDFWU” is one of the most positive records I have. I say that because when I play that song, I see people get so happy.” Letting off steam never felt so good.

It’s A Spiritual Experience When He Works On Music

Most artists have their own rituals before they get into the booth and record. For Big Sean, he says that he doesn’t write anything down to let the mood of the song speak to him. Sean calls it a spiritual experience, as he gets in the zone by meditating and connecting with God or “certain source of light.” He also thanks the universe for letting him create everything he’s ever done.

He Doesn’t Let The Tabloids Get In The Way Of His Relationship With Ariana Grande

Big Sean and Ariana Grande have become the hot new couple to watch in hip-hop. A lot of times when they’re spending time together, it gets captured on camera or gets spun into a gossipy news story. Sean doesn’t want to let those distractions get in the way of making great music. When asked about “Research,” Sean loved that his girlfriend was professional about collaborating on a song. “I think it’s cool to be artists sometimes and not always be about our situation. I appreciate her putting our situation aside and want to talk about something that is still relatable,” he says of the song’s concept of curious lovers going through your private belongings.

He Had An Entirely Different Concept Of “One Man Can Change the World” That Involved President Barack Obama And Osama Bin Laden

When an audience member asked him about his creative process before CRWN was wrapping up, Sean revealed that he worked on the track for two years, even before he put out Detroit. There’s a version of the song where Sean was rapping from the perspectives of Obama and Bin Laden as kids. Although he did tons of research on both of them, he ended up scrapping the song.