Big Sean Gets Reflective in 14-Song Performance for NPR’s 'Tiny Desk'

In the 25-minute set, Sean touches on key moments from across his catalog, starting with 2010's "Memories."

Video via NPR

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Video via NPR

Big Sean is in a reflective state of mind in his just-released episode of NPR's Tiny Desk series.

Across 25 minutes, Sean touched on 14 songs from his catalog, starting with "Memories" from 2010. This led into "Nothing Is Stopping You," the intro track off 2013's Hall of Fame. After performing the track, Sean paused to look back on the earlier days of his career and the difficulties of the Hall of Fame era, specifically.

"I remember it was a stressful time for me because when my second album dropped it didn’t do as well as my first album," Sean told the crowd gathered in the NPR studio. "People was like, 'Oh, sophomore slump. It’s over for him.' You know, counting me out crazy. And then I was able to lock in and make my third album, which was Dark Sky Paradise, which was one of my biggest albums. The point in bringing that up is, like, don’t let people place their curse on you of what they want you to be or who they think you are."

Later, Sean spoke on the importance of coming up as a "blog era mixtape rapper" and his gratitude for eventually being "blessed with the co-sign of Ye." When introducing his closing performance of "I Don't Fuck With You," featuring co-production by Ye, Sean looked ahead at what his Tiny Desk moment will mean to him and his loved ones in the future.

"It’s a monumental moment for me," Sean said. "This is something my kids can look back on, something my family can look back on, and see where dad was at, see where I was at in my career at this point in time."

Also featured in Sean’s NPR set were “Blessings,” “All Me,” “Bounce Back,” and much more. He was backed by an incredibly tight band comprised of the following musicians: Thaddeus Dixon, Amaire Johnson, Henry McDaniel, DJ Mo Beatz, Samoht, Ashly Williams, Eryn Allen, Kane, George Lovett, Lady Jess, Ariel Byrd, Jerome Gordon, and Johnny Walker, Jr.

The performance comes at another key moment for Sean, who recently shared his new single "Precision." In a freestyle released shortly before the track, Sean, who has a new album slated for 2024, rapped about not competing "with enemies or y'all so-called bigger three." Shortly after, Kendrick Lamar tackled the Big 3 topic in his verse on Future and Metro Boomin's "Like That."

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