If there ever was a quote to describe Big Sean’s life over the past year or so, it would come from the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” To be fair, Sean’s life has been in a constant state of flux since 2007 when, after spitting a quick 16 for Kanye West in the doorway of Detroit’s 102.7 FM, he was signed to West’s G.O.O.D Music imprint. After that, the affable Detroit MC with a love of homonyms has managed to out-do himself every year by dropping a bevy of hit singles, and collaborating with everyone from Fall Out Boy to the Teriyaki Boyz.
But change, of course, isn’t always good. Over the past year, Sean experienced a series of lows that left him rethinking not only his career but the direction in which his life was heading. His sophomore album, Hall of Fame, failed to perform as well as his debut despite featuring singles with Jhene Aiko, Lil Wayne, and Miguel. He had a falling out with the management team that helped him reach heights many thought impossible. His grandmother fell ill. And after courting, dating, and then proposing to Glee star Naya Rivera, the two had went through an acrimonious breakup that made headlines and overshadowed anything Sean was doing musically.
The good thing about valleys, however, is that they’re usually followed by peaks. Sean ended 2014 with a new management deal, a new song, the chart-topping “IDFWU,” and a new girl who he considers his best friend. As he put the finishing touches on his third album, Dark Sky Paradise, Sean invited Complex Senior Editor Damien Scott to the two cities he considers home, Detroit and Los Angeles, in order to get a better look at what was happening behind the paparazzi cameras and blog headlines. Photographer Timothy Saccenti perfectly captured the storm brewing that's been within the young artist. A storm that, as you'll learn from this personal profile, is finally starting to clear.