46. Big Sean, Finally Famous: The Mixtape (2007)
From the title of Big Sean's mixtape to the accompanying intro that recounts the first time he met his mentor, Kanye West, it's clear the then-teenage Detroit MC would accept nothing less than being recognized as a rap star. A boastful claim, yes, but it's one that came to fruition, with Finally Famous: The Mixtape setting the table.
An early member of the G.O.O.D. Music set, Sean rhymed with a magnetic tone that was as enthusiastic as it was composed. His penchant for cash flow ("Get'cha Some," "Money Being Made") and women ("Good Sh...," "All Night") were evident. Shades of his colorful, almost cartoonish cadence popped up from time to time, something he's improved upon in recent years.
Although still rough around the edges, Big Sean had a plan and stuck to it on Finally Famous without compromising his stance. Looking at his current stature, it's safe to say it worked in his favor. "I guess this life was made to be/I wasn't made for this world; it was made for me," he raps on the upbeat cut "People Mover." A little confidence can take you a long way. —Edwin Ortiz