8 Things We Learned From Big Sean's 'Drink Champs' Interview
Following Kanye West’s explosive episode of 'Drink Champs,' Big Sean has stopped by the podcast to offer his side of the story and much more.
Following Kanye West’s explosive episode of Drink Champs, Big Sean stopped by the podcast to offer his side of the story in regards to G.O.O.D. Music and much more.
The three-and-a-half-hour long episode covers a wide variety of topics including Sean’s path to success, his love for the city of Detroit, and an experience early on that resulted in him having to fire his friend. Sean opened up about his career for hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, the dangers of being a famous rapper in the U.S., and a car accident in high school.
Perhaps most crucially, though, he responded to comments Kanye made during his recent two-part interview on Drink Champs. The G.O.O.D. Music founder said signing Sean was “the worst thing I’ve ever done,” much to the confusion of N.O.R.E., who said it was the “best” thing he’s done.
“Both John Legend and Big Sean, when I ran for office, got used quick by the Democrats to come at they boy that actually changed they life and that’s some sellout shit,” said Kanye during the episode. “And I don’t rock with neither of them and I need my apologies.”
Just before that episode debuted, Sean said he had been asked to appear on the show. “I’m assuming Ye talkin crazy,” he said. Now Sean’s episode is here, and he gives his detailed response to Ye’s comments.
Stream the episode now via Spotify, catch the video on YouTube at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 18, and read some of the biggest takeaways below.
Time stamp: 26:30
In the lead-up to his fifth studio album Detroit 2, which arrived last year, Big Sean said he quit taking Adderall recreationally because he started to feel a dependency on it.
“I grew a lot as a person, I went through real n***a shit. … I went through real people shit,” he said. “I don’t be heavy into drugs or shit…I was fucking with Adderall. And I was starting to feel like I couldn’t function without this shit. So I gave it up.”
He didn’t get too deeply into what led to his drug use, but Sean has been very open about his battle with depression throughout his career. Earlier this year, in a conversation with Michael Eric Dyson, he admitted he “contemplated suicide a lot of times.”
Time stamp: 31:00
Elaborating on what went into Detroit 2, Sean spoke about his time in high school and revealed he got into a pretty nasty car accident prior to signing with G.O.O.D. Music.
“My grandma had a stroke and I ended up driving her car, so she had just bought a brand new Chrysler Sebring,” he explained. “That was the first car I had. I got into a crazy fucking car accident. I was skipping school, ironically with the high GPA…I was with my girl at the time, skipping school, in the snow, [we] got into a crazy car accident. Got caught up in my lie. ’Cause I’m telling my mom I’m somewhere else, I’m on the whole other side of town. I get into a fucking crazy accident, the whole car was totaled.”
Despite how bad the accident was, he escaped the crash with very minor injuries. “Somehow I climb out the window, nothing wrong with me, just a bruised pinky, and then I ended up getting a brand new Impala,” he continued. “The insurance money came in, and my grandma was like, ‘So what car do you want?’”
Time stamp: 40:00
N.O.R.E. asked Big Sean if he got a photographer fired because they took photos of Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Kanye West in the studio working on what would become My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. “No, what the fuck?” he replied, and then he proceeded to explain what really want down.
“I don't wanna tell this story...I know it's a funny story, but he's a real person, man,” he said, noting that the friend was a right-hand man to him at the time. "I'm out there playing my role, but I got my mans with me. I'm in the studio with Ye and Hov...he ends up taking a picture of all of us in the studio, didn't tell me and then tweeted it. ... They thought it was me."
The legendary MBDTF studio sessions were shrouded in secrecy, and after the photo circulated online Kanye approached Sean about the leak. “I explained to him who it was, and he was like, ‘You gotta fucking fire him,’” he said. “He was like, ‘We all done this, we’ve hired the people that we love...but people was mad at you,’ he was talking about me, ‘thinking that you was being thirsty. And it was your mans.’ So I told him, ‘I’m in a position where it’s like, shit, Ye and Hov saying you gotta go, I’m sorry bro, we gotta figure out something else.’”
Thankfully it all worked out for his friend, Sean added, even “transforming his life.” Sean revealed the friend “ended up being a teacher, ended up impacting a lot of people’s lives and doing amazing, wonderful things.”
Time stamp: 58:20 and 1:02:00
Sean Don famously has a lot of love for the city of Detroit, and that led to him bringing up the late Young Dolph, who always showed love for his own hometown of Memphis. “A lot of people who we see love they city, right, they get taken out in the city,” Sean said. “I went to high school with Dolph’s wife. … We grew up in the same neighborhood in Detroit.”
Sean described rappers such as Dolph and Nipsey Hussle as “pillars of their community,” which prompted N.O.R.E. to ask if he thinks being a rapper in America is a “dangerous job.”
“I think being a human being is, but yeah, of course. Of course it is, because everything is amplified,” he said. “I hate when motherfuckers rapping about that shit, and then it happen. And that’s one of the cases I see happening over and over. I wonder if more rappers will be conscious of that.”
Big Sean admitted he does go a lot of places without security. “I go to like, the fucking movies by myself,” he said. “I like having that alone time, but I’ma just keep it real with you. I’m not a street n***a like that. I’m from the streets, but that’s something that I chose not to be a part of.”
Time stamp: 1:05:00
During a portion of the episode in which he got tasked with picking between artists, Sean was immediately asked, “Drake or Lil Wayne?” While that might be a tough question to answer for some, Sean immediately replied with Wayne, because “there wouldn’t be a Drake without Wayne.”
But the most interesting match-up came when N.O.R.E. asked to pick between Pharrell or Kanye West, only on the basis of their production talents. “I’ma go with Pharrell for producers,” he said after a long pause. “I’ll tell you why; the fact that Pharrell has been popping…has had impact on three different decades as a producer, to me that’s some of the most impressive shit anyone could do.”
Time stamp: 1:52:00
“At first I thought it was hilarious, I thought the shit was funny,” Big Sean said of Kanye West’s remarks about him on Drink Champs. “Then I took it personal. I took it personal because, I’m the only artist who’s put out five albums under G.O.O.D. Music. … I’m the only one who put out back-to-back-to-back No. 1’s, platinum albums, double platinum albums. And by the way, being signed to Kanye is a golden opportunity, he changed my life and I love him for that. But every time Kanye has called on me, every single time no matter what I was doing, within one day’s notice I’m wherever he’s at bro, whether it’s to contribute to him in the studio, whether it’s to contribute a line, write a verse for him. … I’ve traveled around the world for this man, every time he’s called. And I’ve done this and not asked for publishing a lot of the times. Why? Because he gave me a golden opportunity of signing to G.O.O.D. Music.”
Furthering his history of support for Yeezy, Sean recalled, “In 2015, when I won a VMA with Ye and John Legend...I was the first person to tweet, ‘Kanye for president.’ The first one, right? … When I heard what he was talking about, it didn’t make sense, bro.” Kanye has now insisted Sean didn’t show him any support for his goal of becoming president, claiming he instead supported the Democrats.
Sean also once again said he’s owed a significant amount of money by GOOD Music. “I had to spend my own money auditing my label because millions of dollars are missing...I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on my label, thinking Universal owed me this money, and the money had been paid to G.O.O.D. Music,” he explained. “So let me ask you before we finish… If somebody owed you $500,000, how would you feel?” He gradually increased the amount of money, up to $6 million. “What if they owed you that, bro? And you showed up for them and you did all these things, right? And they up billions. And then the n***a who comes at them, who talks the most shit, he bigging up in the interview and shit. … I’m talking about Drake. Who he, you know, loves. And my thing is, bro, when you want to talk about loyal to a fault...yeah I’ve been loyal because I feel like I’m the only one who stayed that long for G.O.O.D. Music, so yeah, it was a personal—it affected me personally, bro.”
Big Sean said that he doesn’t know if the money situation is “even on [Ye’s] radar like that.” He admitted the figure of $6 million is “probably ain’t nothing” for Kanye, but “life-changing” for himself.
The Dark Sky Paradise hitmaker maintained he’s not “shitting” on his deal, but said, “What I’m saying is, I put at least $30 million in this man pocket or more, and he owes me money, and he’s got billions, him or his company.”
Kanye previously expressed his desire to get all G.O.O.D. Music signeees their masters back; Sean said that hasn’t happened although it would “benefit” him “a lot” if it could happen. “And if I was up [billions] and if I was a man of my word, and not just saying something to look good in that moment, I would pay my artists they masters or at least what they worth, if he’s not in the position to do that. But that’s just me.”
Time stamp: 1:58:00
The day after Kanye’s Drink Champs episode came out, Sean said West hit him up over text to meet with Sean and his mother to "begin healing on both sides." But Sean was "angry" at the time.
"I took it too personally, because it’s like, you publicly humiliated me when I've been down for you. Now peep this out: while he was running for president, I didn't have his contact. I purposely didn't endorse anyone publicly, politically, because my mans was running. I didn't even have his contact at the time. ... I'm the No. 1-earning artist on G.O.O.D. Music, and I didn't come out and support no Democratic party because my man's was running, and he wasn't even on the ballot in 30-something states. You see what I’m saying? So when he said all that, it just had no—that’s why it was funny, because it just was not true. Like, I didn't come out and support no Democratic party, bro what the fuck? Maybe John Legend did, I don't know. I didn't."
Time stamp: 2:04:30
Kanye demanded to be on "Blessings," Big Sean’s 2015 collaboration with Drake, a day before the album needed to be handed in.
Sean helped Ye write his verse after protesting briefly, but the verse somehow didn't initially make the cut due to some confusion between the people mastering the album. Drake and Sean both thought the song was "already done" and "didn't need" Ye's verse. Sean said Drake didn't express anything about not wanting West on the song, but added that he "got the vibes."
When it fell through, Sean agreed on doing the version with Kanye for the video and radio. "Next thing I know, we're shooting the video and he's spazzing on me," Sean said. "Like, 'You did this ’cause...' Like I'm loyal to Drake over him or something."