Following up with the success of his debut album, Big Sean sets out to prove he deserves a spot next to some of the greatest with his sophomore album "Hall of Fame."
Itâs been a long road to the top for Big Sean. Back in 2005 after hearing Kanye West was going to be at a local radio station in Detroit for an interview, Big Sean headed down there to chance fate. Two years later he signed with G.O.O.D. Music but it wasnât until 2011 that his debut album Finally Famous would hit the shelves. In that four-year gap, the Detroit native would release a handful of solid mixtapes that would help him earn fans and showcase his lyrical abilities. Â After a commercially successful and critically acclaimed debut, stand out verses on G.O.O.D. Musicâs compilation album Cruel Summer and his highly acclaimed Detroit mixtape, Big Sean releases Hall of Fame to much fanfare.
Adding to the buzz was âControlâ freestyle featuring Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica. The song didnât make the album due to clearance issues but it was released as a teaser for Hall of Fame anyway and K.Dotâs bars are still ruffling the feathers of fellow rappers.
Originally slated for December 2012 release, Big Seanâs sophomore attempt suffered a series of push backs. After four release dates, Hall of Fame finally gets the green light eight months later. The album delays are a testament to Big Seanâs work ethic. Throughout his rap career heâs rolled with the punches, hopped over hurdles and still come out on top. A true believer in the motto âHard work pays off,â Big Sean stays consistent with that theme throughout Hall of Fame.
Portraying himself as the James Brown of hip-hop, Big Sean paints himself as the hardest-working man in show business and opens the album with the inspirational âNothing Is Stopping You.â Itâs clear the city of Detroit played a crucial role in Big Seanâs life and he pays homage to his hometown every chance he gets, hoping to inspire its residents to overcome the depression and blithe that has plagued his beloved city. As if the opening track wasnât enough to move the masses, up next is the gospel-tinged, soulful âFire,â the type of motivational song Big Sean thrives on:
âEvery time I spit a verse, my city like âPreach!â/ Niggas thought I got evicted, how my shit up in the streets/ B-I-G Sean, ainât nothing obese but the feast/ Swear Iâm soÂ skinny cause Iâm always on my feet/ Gotta hustle every second, stacking paper every week/ Boy Iâm in the field for real, I might run up in some cleatsâ
What separates Big Sean from other rappers his age is the depth and subjective tone in his lyrics. While most others would rather release an album filled with club bangers about popping bottles and whipping Bugattis, Big Sean is content to be the motivational rapper for his followers. In âAll Figured Out,â he reflects about lifeâs lessons. Before ending the song behind the podium as hip-hopâs Zig Ziglar, Big Sean raps:
âI used to think thereâs no such things as wrong rights/ âTill my stepbrother brought home them extra groceries/ Extra cheese, now mom could make her special recipe/ But I didnât know it was off of infested streets/ Now he the reason Iâve got to walk with my little niece to go eatâ
Big Sean recruits both current and future hall of famers for guest spots on his second album. Young Money general Lil Wayne and starlet Jhene Aiko join forces for âBeware.â 2 Chainz opens up about the incident in the Bay Area, and takes a shot or two at the armed âpick-pocketersâ in the remix to âMula,â which also features Meek Mill and Earlly Mac. Nicki Minaj and Juicy J team up together again on the sexually charged âMILF.â Singer James Fauntleroy croons on the reassuringly positive and uplifting âWorld Ablaze.â Miguel once again catches lightening in a bottle and recreates the magic of Waleâs âLotus Flower Bombâ in âAshley.â
âOn a highway to heaven, look at all the tolls I paid/ I done gave my city drive all the roads I paved/ No matter what way I turn things go my way/ Iâm rocking chains everyday so you know Iâm a slave/ even when Iâm just walking âround the crib, nigga/ To remind me of everything that we did, nigga/ Look up in the mirror, chain only thing lying/ No heroes where Iâm from, bullets only thing flying/ I know the higher I go, the harder the climb/ But after that the bigger the muscle and smarter the mindâ
The stand out track is undoubtedly âSwitch Up,â featuring fellow G.O.O.D. member Common. A natural follow-up to âClique,â Common, clearly in his mood that day, shows out and lights up his bars. Big Sean is intent on only celebrating his success with his old homies:
âEverything I do I do it overboard, Michael Phelps splash/ Smile for the Polaroid, self-employed/ Now you shelf employed, D-Boy/ Never sold but I still got more lines than corduroy/ And Iâm with the same crew until Iâm an old man/ Cause ainât no such thing as new old friendsâ
No ID handles most of the production for Hall of Fame but Big Sean also enlists the help of some other producers including Key Wane, Travi$ Scott, Young Chop and more. The final project is an uplifting yet pleasurable soundtrack for a ride through the streets of Detroit with its unofficial mayor providing the narration. Big Seanâs non-stop grueling grind has helped him finally become famous and with his second offering, the G.O.O.D. Music rapper definitely deserves a spot next to the other hall of famers of rap.