Big Sean Done Growed Up

A defense of hip-hop's little brother.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Fine. I'll bite: 

Presumably, @G3K announced this chall-onge in consideration (and dismissal) of Big Sean's latest batch of releases, four songs that he dropped at once, via Soundcloud, gratis. What a guy.

It is distressing, I admit. A certain sort of historical absurdity that shouldn't be true, is simply too ludicrous and naive of you or me to believe it. The U.S. justice system is constitutionally sound. Jimmy Fallon is amusing. Big Sean is a good rapper.

Exhibits A-D submitted to evidence, Your Honor.

These being the aforementioned million-dollar beats; and they are, truly. To which Big Sean applies his signature simp contrast bars and synonym flips, e.g., "All my interests involve interest" from "4th Quarter." What's new here is the rage; it's fresh, it's believable, it's certainly linked to the whirlwind collapse of his romance with Glee starlet Naya Rivera, the hottest cast member of that particular show. Shit is sad. "I Don't Fuck With You" is among the greatest breakup letters in the history of the language, much less rap music. "I mean for real, fuck how you feel/Fuck your two cents if it ain't goin' towards the bill/And every day I wake up celebrating shit; why? 'Cause I just dodged a bullet from a crazy bitch." Please don't pretend that you're anymore eloquent than that when suffering high-profile breakups with tremendously gorgeous celebrities. This shit is appropriate.

Kanye West just married a gospel choir to a DJ Mustard beat. I will play "I Don't Fuck With You" at my wedding.

Haters pretend that E-40's "I Don't Fuck With You" guest verse is obviously superior to Big Sean's "I Don't Fuck With You" verses. E-40's "I Don't Fuck With You" guest verse features a truly random, non sequitur, inconsequential shout-out to Pimp C.

There's some dispute here among the Complex music team in re which of the four is Sean's strongest track. My editors say "4th Quarter," but the correct answer is "Jit/Juke," in which Big Sean challenges: "Acting like you can't die tonight. What, you gon come back like Kenny?" Whereas "4th Quarter" is the best evidence of Sean's finally adding some grandeur and panorama to his rapper narrative, "Jit/Juke" is the emergence, finally, of Big Sean's personality, and it's a best-yet exhibition of his modest strengths: simplicity, seemingly-teenaged enthusiasm, a suburban sort of cool. Big Sean is the Rapper Next Door. Also, that Kenny line is just funny to me.

Big Sean is not Big Pun. If you want to hear Big Pun, you should go listen to a Big Pun album or something.


Big Sean is the most improved rapper of Kendrick's "Control" class, with a debut album that, as a work of sincere autobiography, matures beyond his worst tendencies, monotony, and ad lib twitching. His permanently adolescent voice does him no favors, delivery-wise; neither he nor I can fix that particular glitch of his pituitary development, I'm afraid. I credit homeboy for his creative growth otherwise, despite the persistently trite observations of the hip-hop commentariat, stale as Jay Pharoah's Jay Z impersonation. J. Cole is sleepy. Rick Ross is a C.O., ho-ho! Drake is a corny, lovesick, beige woman. Big Sean is basic, and his breakout hit is titled "Dance," subtitled "(A$$)." And still he rises. Insert Maya Angelou punchline here.

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