By Rob Markman
Headliner: Big Sean
Representing: Detroit, Michigan
Real Spit: Big Sean doesn’t wear a cape or cowl, but when it comes to Detroit hip-hop, the G.O.O.D. Music MC is akin to Superman. “My city needs a hero, straight up,” Sean told Mixtape Daily of Detroit.
The superhero theme is something that the Finally Famous lyricist explores on the tape’s opener. “Straight out the metropolitan/ My city need a hero so I treat it like Metropolis,” he spits on “Higher.”
No question Motown has bred some of the game’s best talent like the deceased Proof and beloved J Dilla, as well as the likes of Royce da 5’9″ and highly worshipped Eminem. Since dropping his debut album in 2011, Big Sean has cemented that name on the list. “I named the mixtapeDetroit. I feel like it’s suitable,” he said. “Of course that’s where I’m from, but on top of that, it’s where I grew up, it’s where I became a man, it’s where I made myself at. All the memories I have from there, plus it tells different stories.”
On “24K of Gold” Sean links with J. Cole on an aspirational cut that picks up where his 2009 mixtape track “Desire, Want & Need” left off. As successful as Sean has been with singles like “My Last,” “Dance (A$$)” and of course his contributions on G.O.O.D. Music’s “Mercy,” the twentysomething MC raps from the position of one who still has more to accomplish. “100” with Royce da 5’9″ and Kendrick Lamar is a perfect example. “As I look up to the sky, thought about 100 things to do before I die/ Hit all the girls I want and make sure my n—as right/ And my family live that life,” he rhymes on the chorus.
Sean furthers the theme on “I’m Gonna Be” where he sings from a child’s perspective about what he plans to do with his life. There are a number of tracks where Big Sean flaunts his success (“Mula,” “How It Feel” and “RWT”), but for the most part Detroit provides motivation for those in his city who may not have an overabundance rap examples.
Joints to Check For
» “100” — “It’s really describing the moment … It’s really one of those reflective moments that I’ve had. I’ve had a couple of those in the midst of being busy in this life and we really just went in on that concept.”
» “How It Feel” — ” ‘How It Feel’ is definitely ultra-player. I’m a Detroit player to the core man, I’m always wearing extravagant stuff, great jewelry. I’m always rocking snakeskin or this, or leather or whatever. So that’s just strictly for the true players that just love that music to vibe to. Definitely something to party to, it got that straight groove to it.”i