Big Sean was recently featured in Interview Magazine where he speaks on meeting Kanye West for the first time, his new album and much more! Check out the full interview here.
ALEX CHAPMAN: What have you been up to in the past few days? I’m sure there’s been plenty of promo and press.
BIG SEAN: Well, that song [“Control”] dropped, which is awesome. Promoting the album—”Beware” video just dropped. It’s just a great time, and I’m excited to be a part of hip-hop, to be a part of rap, and deliver something that isn’t necessarily being delivered right now. Kanye’s guidance is really helping a lot as far as visuals, and [G.O.O.D. Music’s creative team] DONDA and [Art Director/Photographer] Matt Williams. And the songs have been getting great receptions, from “Fire” to “Beware” to “Control.”
CHAPMAN: Everything I’ve heard sounds like you are taking things to the next level, in terms of having bigger production but also having more to say.
SEAN: I wanted to come from a place where I talk about things. I’m a dreamer first and foremost—I lived in my mom’s house, writing all these goals down, from the house I wanted to buy to all the things that I have accomplished so far. I just want to teach people the methods that I thought of, and maybe it can apply to them and they can be inspired to contribute to what they got going on. I believe in the concept of planning your goals out and writing them down, to a further extent by calling my album Hall of Fame and putting that out into the universe.
CHAPMAN: So the Hall of Fame is where you want to be?
SEAN: When it’s all said and done, at the end of my career I want to be in the Hall of Fame. Whether it’s the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame—hopefully they have a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. By any means I don’t think I’m in the Hall of Fame yet, but that’s the whole concept behind it.
CHAPMAN: Do you write goals down on paper?
SEAN: I kind of just write things in my head, and then after I’ve memorized it in my head I’ll say it in my phone, like on the voice recorder, just so I can keep it moving.
CHAPMAN: I assume you do that with lyrics sometimes too.
SEAN: I find sometimes when I write lyrics down it slows me down, just because that’s two different modes for me. I go in a mode of coming up with ideas and then I have to write them down, sometimes I lose that inspiration in that short of amount of time. So for me, it’s easier to keep in that creative mode and not even write it down.
CHAPMAN: Is it crazy to think about which of your records started as a voice memo?
SEAN: There are voice memos for like every song, I’ve probably been doing that for the past three years. It’s crazy to see shit unfold like that. Songs like “Clique”—I was just messing around and then I came up with it, I didn’t even think anything of it. Next thing I know, it’s a record. Or with [one of Sean’s catchphrases] “swerve”—that’s just some silly shit that I was messing around with, my friends and I would always say it. Now it’s a big thing—I see shirts and merchandise that say “Swerve” on it.
CHAPMAN: There’s not that many people with catchphrases that have stuck as well as yours. Is that something you were doing from the jump?
SEAN: Kanye was the one who inspired me to think like that, early on when he first took me under his wing. He’d be like, “You sound like this,” or, “You sound like me, you’ve got to figure out ways to set yourself apart.” I was like, “Man! The hell you mean?” He was like “Well [Young] Jeezy got ‘Ha ha!’ and ‘Chyuh!’ Why don’t you come up with your own ad-libs? Do something people aren’t doing.” So the first I came up with was “Boy,” and then I came up with “Oh God,” and then “Swerve.” I got some more coming. When I started having fun with it and stopped trying to be critical or hard on myself, that’s when the best work came.
CHAPMAN: Hall of Fame seems elevated from a promotional standpoint—you have two videos out, you were on Jimmy Kimmel, you’re doing a major artist rollout for this, to a bigger degree than with Finally Famous, and there’s definitely a greater anticipation for this album. How does it feel to have a more pumped-up release?
SEAN: Man, that’s good to know, because from the inside looking out you can never see how it looks from the outside looking in. If you say that people are excited about it and it’s gonna be a big deal, then that is awesome. I work really hard—that doesn’t mean I deserve anything, but it’s really cool to see the positive reaction people give to something you worked so hard on. It’s one of the best feelings. I was just talking to my publicist about how she picked me up in a sketchy-ass hotel five years ago, when I didn’t have any songs out. Now I got platinum records, got a plaque the other day for selling 10 million singles—it’s great.
Big Sean “Hall Of Fame” is Available Everywhere Now!