GQ&A: Big Sean By Andy Morris
If it wasn’t for the munificence of Ronald McDonald, Big Sean might never have become hip-hop’s Next Huge Thing. Six years ago he was penniless and having spent his last $40 on a studio session, he headed out in the faint hope of some fast food. “They gave it to me without me paying for it and said, ‘Have a nice night,’” recalls Sean with a grin. “That was probably the Egg McMuffin I ever had. Times like those make times like these so much better.” Days later the artist formerly known as Sean Anderson doorstepped Kanye West in the car park of a local radio station, eventually leading to him turning down his scholarships to Michigan State University and getting signed to West’s GOOD Music label. After a preliminary thank you for our shout-out on the last Kelly Rowland record “Lay It On Me” (“No problem, man!”) here he talks to GQ.com about Family Guy, his awful homecoming gig and why he’s not part of the Illuminati…
GQ.com: What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
Big Sean: I was a telemarketer in my senior year at high school. I had to sell prosthetic limbs to paralysed veterans. I was making 150 bucks a week and it was horrible.
Who is your best-dressed British man?
Shout out to Tinie Tempah for real. Definitely a fresh guy! He just hit me up today saying, “Come to the studio.” I can’t believe that he put Finally Famous in his [autobiography]. Wow man – that means so much.
What’s a Big Sean groupie like?
Crazy, man. This one groupie snuck into one of my vans after the show and we didn’t even notice until we were two minutes into the ride. We turned round and said, “Hold on, who the f*** are you?” It’s crazy how sneaky some of these girls can be. This one girl snuck in my hotel room one time – no, she wasn’t in the bed. I asked her, “How did you get in here?” and she said, “Um, it was open. I love you!” I said, “Oh my God, I love you too, but this is just too weird.” I made her get out immediately. If I was in the mood maybe something else might have happened…
Which lyric are you most proud of writing?
“I swear I’ve been through everything in life but a coffin / They say sky’s the limit, how bitch? I’m moonwalking!” That’s always one of my favourite lines from “Memories”.
What’s been your worst style mistake?
I probably wasted a couple of thousand dollars on some dumb-ass clothes. I hate all the old pictures of me before 2010 – and they are always the first ones to come up. That’s why I don’t Google myself, man…
What’s your karaoke song?
[Sings] “The very first time / That I saw your brown eyes / Your lips said, ‘Hello’ and I said, ‘Hi’.” I did “If I Ever Fall In Love Again” by Boys II Men at one of my friend’s birthdays back in Detroit. I went hard on that song, man. I went in – I was really hitting those notes.
When did you last throw a punch?
Fighting my brother actually, six years ago. I haven’t gotten into no brawls since then. I can’t even remember what it was about – I think he hit me in the head with a belt because I did something to piss him off.
Describe your worst haircut.
I gave myself a haircut in high school. It had to be the worst haircut of all time. I had dips in my hair, bald spots all over my head. I was too broke to get a haircut and I was trying to save money. I remember they wouldn’t let me wear a hat and as soon as I took it off everyone started laughing – it was so embarrassing. Thank God there’s no photos.
Have you ever stolen anything?
I’ve definitely stolen a lot of things. As I say, “Much as my grandma raised me since birth / It’s sad I used to steal $20 out her purse.” That was wack. I’m going to give her all that money back now. I can afford to write her a $10,000 cheque or something. One time I stole from my old elementary school. There was a gift shop and it sold wooden recorders and crystal chains worth no more than $20. I stole them, got caught and my mom whupped my ass.
What’s the skill that every man should have?
Definitely know how to drive under any circumstances. If you rent a car, you’ve got to know how to drive it. You’ve got to learn stick-shift. You need to get on that wheel and navigate that s*** to the right place.
What’s your hangover cure?
I never had hangovers – I’ve never been messed up the next day. I’ve got sloppy drunk before – drunk to the point where I don’t remember stuff – but I’ve never the next day had to have coffee. I just pick myself up and go.
Describe your worst gig.
It was in Detroit with me and Wiz Khalifa. I hit Wiz’s bong before we went on stage. I bombed, right in front of my home town. It was so embarrassing. I couldn’t even concentrate – I was bugging out and hallucinating that someone was running on stage. I cried after that show, man. Wiz performed as usual, high as usual and killed it. He’s used to operating on that level of highness. I definitely am not.
What TV do you never miss?
Family Guy is probably my favourite show and I watch them every night I can. I know exactly when it comes on all the TV stations, even over here in London. I was watching it last night. My moment is when Brian came out in a banana suit and started singing, “It’s peanut butter jelly time”. I mess with Brian heavy. Another favourite episode is a sentimental one – it had no theme song to it and was just Brian and Stewie locked in a safe. That was the makers showing how creative they could get with it.
What gifts have you received from fans?
I call them “Believers” because they go above and beyond. One of them came to the show the same day her granny died. She brought two copies of my CD for me to sign, a toy bear, a letter, a shirt from Paxon – every piece of merchandise I had. That devotion keeps me going.
What’s the most expensive thing you’re currently wearing?
Probably my power chain [indicates three separate items of jewellery] – these are $15,000 apiece. I’ve also just got a new chain by Jacob the Jeweller. I wore it in my new video with Nicki Minaj. It’s similar to [Kanye's] Jesus piece but it’s a lion. It’s the size of an iPhone.
What your watch of choice?
I’m also a Rolex guy – I like all the styles from the Masterpiece to the Presidential to the Date. I’ve started so many conversations with businessmen just by saying, “I like your Rolex.”
Do you know your way around a wine list?
I always keep a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. I’m pretty straight – I wouldn’t say I’ve got the best taste but I know what’s good. It’s a real player move to take a girl wine-tasting on a date – she’ll like that.
What’s the best thing you can cook?
I cook all the time when I’m at home alone in my house – which is hardly ever lately. I cook great asparagus – I season my vegetables real good, exactly how I like them, to make them crunchy. The secret? I just know when to take ‘em off.
What’s the most important thing on your rider?
Water for sure. Without that I would be dead. Of course I’ve got the champagne on there – I give them a list of Moët & Chandon, Dom Perignon or Ace of Spades [Armand de Brignac]. Any of those, I’ll be all right – I’m not too, too picky. I always have the munchies so I have a lot of snacks on there – Kit Kats, Snickers, Twix, chips and a whole bunch of junk stuff. I got to try a British Kit Kat. It’s probably better here, isn’t it?
Have you ever had sex to one of your own records?
For sure. But it’s also weird having sex to a record from someone you know personally. For instance, the Dream is my homie. When I’ve been having sex to a Dream song, I’ll be thinking, “Damn, I know him, man!” That is just so awkward. It’s more normal having sex to one of my own songs.
What’s your best style tip at the moment?
I’m into Dior suits, man – they fit me pretty good ’cause I’m a slim dude. Lately I’ve been into rocking clothes that I’ve been making myself and Kanye’s been a big fan of that. I’ve been cutting up my jean jackets and hoodies and putting them together. One of one, man: customisation is definitely the way to go. Sometimes he’s quick to shoot your outfit down, other times to give you a compliment, but he shows mad love. Also I got hooked up with one of Don C’s snakeskin [Mitchell & Ness] snapbacks. [indicates python-covered cap brim]
What was your best opening line?
I used to walk up to girls to pick ‘em up in high school: “What’s up? I just want to tell you you’re so beautiful.” What can she say? She has to say thank you. That’s when you engage man – boom, boom. I’ve said the craziest, dumb-ass lines as well. Things like “Hey baby, is there Windex in your pants? Because I can see myself in ‘em.”
What’s the strangest rumour you’ve heard about yourself?
That I was part of the Illuminati! Jay-Z and Kanye are not part of it – unless there’s some s*** I don’t know about. It’s dumb as hell.
Which band would you love to see live?
I’ve never seen U2 perform so I’d like to see them. Them or Maroon 5. I f***s with Maroon 5. Songs About Jane was one of my favourite albums ever.
Which phrase do you overuse?
“I do it.”
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