US rapper claims he could top mentor Kanye's work ahead of second album release
Ahead of his gig at Dubai's People by Crystal, Big Sean talked to Peter Feely about working with Kanye West and his relationship with Drake.
When you freestyled for Kanye West at a Detroit radio station, wasn’t it two years before he signed you? Did you hear from him during that time? He would contact me out of the blue, probably every few months. It was a really weird thing and I didn’t know if he was all that interested. I didn’t know if he was trying to sign me. I kept sending him the music and eventually he came through and said ‘Yo, let’s do the deal’. I was sending him MP3s of tracks and he was digging it.
What influence has he had on the sound and style of your music? He changes the sounds, forms the sounds and we make new kinds of sounds together.
I saw the GGN show on YouTube with Snoop Lion... That was fun [laughs]. It was the [Snoop] Dogg then.
In the clip I saw a reference to MC Breed from Detroit... I’ve got so much respect for MC Breed. There are a lot of people bubbling on the Detroit scene (he was one of the Gs). I’m a fan of every artist that brings originality and flavour.
Do you think that there is a specific Detroit [rap] sound? There are lots of different styles, man. You’ve got me, Eminem (of course), Slum Village and J Dilla, who has a very soulful sound. Then you have like Black Milk (who’s still kind of soulful) and Danny Brown (who has a new kind of flavour). There are a lot of varieties.
People tend to compare you to Drake and I also heard that there was a misunderstanding about him using some of your beats from the track ‘Supa Dupa’... Me and Drake are friends, man. He used the style of rap I was working on and gave me credit for it. I respect him for giving me credit for that tune. Me and him have been working together, so you’ll be hearing some new stuff.
Your success must be quite surreal, working with Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa... – is it crazy being around these people? I’m not jaded by it – it’s just what I expect. I hear a lot of Kanye’s work and a lot of people you named and I feel I could make music that’s on that level or even better.
Is there anyone coming up on the rap scene that you think is going to be massive? Travi$ Scott, Elzhi (he’s from Detroit).
What’s your reaction to people who criticise some of the lyrics in your music? People can assume whatever they want – it doesn’t matter. Hey, I’m not happy about it but I just don’t care.
Is there ever a conflict between your creative instincts and a pressure to be successful? Nah – I don’t have a conflict. When you’re influential, you make what’s popular and influential. Hall of Fame is out on August 27.