It’s Friday afternoon and while many members of the workforce are counting down minutes until they get to enjoy their weekend, the Def Jam office was filled with people solely focused on Big Sean’s big announcement. The former XXL “Freshman Class” member’s meeting was more than worth it, as he announced he is the newest member of the Roc Nation management family. The Detroit player also released four new songs with production credits from the likes of DJ Mustard, Mike WiLL Made-It, DJ Dahi and more, the most notable of which is the Kanye co-produced scorched earth diary entry “I Don’t Fuck With You.”
“I got a chance to sit with ‘Hov and the guys who have a lot of the right connections to make things happen,” said Sean. “It just made the most sense to me. It’s a great company, and I am excited to be a part and work with them.”
This is giant news for Big Sean, whose third album is somehwere on the horizon and whose career has been marked by top charting commercial successes that didn’t quite translate into album sales. The pre-booty era titled “Dance (A$$)” featuring Nicki Minaj peaked at #10on the Billboard “Hot 100, and both of his albums Finally Famous and Hall of Fame peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200, but he hasn’t quite managed to solidify his status. And although he’s got stand out verses on the Hit-Boy produced “Clique” and the Pop-Wansel tailored “Marvin & Chardonnay” his most recent news-worthy items have been a failed love affair to Glee sensation Naya Rivera and being the technical owner of the song that Kendrick killed, “Control.” Needless to say he had a few things on his mind, then, and we got a chance to talk to the cunning wordsmith as he discussed his collaboration with adidas for the Metro Attitude shoe, the Roc Nation deal, his relationship with DJ Mustard and more.
Big Sean Says Moving To Roc Nation Made The Most Sense
DX: Today you announced your signing to Roc Nation management. How did this come to pass? What was the selling point on the vision, and what did you feel they could offer you that no one else could?
Big Sean: I got a chance to sit with ‘Hov and the guys who have a lot of the right connections to make things happen. It just made the most sense to me. It’s a great company, and I am excited to be a part and work with them. It’s awesome to get the insight of guys over there. Jay Z is a smart guy and they have no egos.
DX: Key Wane is a fixture in your camp as well. Tell us a little bit about your relationship, and if the Roc Nation deal will affect your situation with him.
Big Sean: We went to high school together, he was couple years younger than me. I used to joke around with him all the time when we were younger and say his beats weren’t tight back then, but now his beats are golden. I am fortunate enough to have him signed under me as my first producer. We are gonna make history. The Roc Nation deal won’t affect my relationship with him at all.
DX: You came with an early pre-“Blurred Lines” look for Miley Cyrus. Your song “Control” is still sparking conversations a year later. You were one of the early young rappers to sign with Adidas as well. Do you consider yourself an influencer/tastemaker?
Big Sean: I do consider myself a tastemaker. I feel like since I have gotten in the game I have been able to bring things like the super-duper-flow, wearing TI$A, to POW chains, [and] songs like “Clique” “Ass,” “Mercy” and many more. Some people like it and some don’t, but I have always kept the attitude of a dreamer. I always like to keep that element in my music. I like to experiment and try new things. I never compromised my heart. I hope people can respect that when it’s all said and done.
Big Sean Connects His adidas Partnership With Run-DMC’s Legacy
DX: Today you released four new songs, with some of the biggest producers in the game right now in DJ Mustard, Mike WiLL Made-It and more. How did these songs come to pass?
Big Sean: It was great to work DJ Mustard and make music that really relates to my life. Shout outs to Mike WiLL Made-It. We made a monster with “Paradise.” Shoutouts to Key Wane for coming with “4th Quarter.”
DX: Hip Hop’s formative years were really focused on lyrics. With the current dance/singles-driven market, how much attention does he think the average listener is paying to rhyme patterns and the actual words of the songs?
Big Sean: You have to have a clear vision of what you want to do. Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. You always have to stick to your guns and be a strong artist. I appreciate all the fans who have been holding me down since the mixtape days. I do it for them. I want to continue to make the soundtrack to all aspects and situations in people’s lives.
HipHopDX: Coming from Detroit, the adidas Forum is pretty much the holy grail of sneakers. Putting fashion aside, why was working with adidas a good business move for you?
Big Sean: For starters, it’s great to be a part of a company that takes such great pride in the culture. You look at guys like Run-DMC, which are some of the biggest rappers ever, and Adidas believed in them. It’s tight for me to be a part of an era they consider as resurgence in the brand. It’s awesome to be a brand ambassador for them. I believe and adidas, and they believe in me.
DX: You are someone who takes great pride in style and have went on record to say some of your favorite streetwear brands are BAPE and BBC. With that being said you come from Detroit, a city which isn’t really booming economically. How important is it for you to keep the price point of your products friendly, but still make sense based on what you are selling.
Big Sean: Kanye bought me around those guys when I was young. He took me under his wing and brought me around guys like Pharrell, Nigo and everyone. These are my style icons.
My shoes are a little expensive, but this is Italian leather, so they will last a long time. I am also big on people being able to afford and enjoy things, and I did my best to not make them too expensive yet still provide quality. I love to give back. Shout outs to my mom who really got my Sean Anderson foundation going. We just linked up with Office Depot to give away 5,000 bookbags with school supplies in them to Detroit public school kids who couldn’t afford them. I get just as excited to do those things I really do care.