Big Sean: Finally Famous Vol. 3: BIG

September 10, 2010

Detroit native Big Sean was featured in an April issue of XXL magazine as one of 10 members of the 2010 Freshman Class. His work has drawn the praise of Kanye West and landed him deals with G.O.O.D. Music and Island Def Jam Music Group. When he made a surprise appearance at Chiddy Bang’s August 7 concert at the Shelter at St. Andrew’s Hall, he was introduced as “the new mayor of Detroit.”

The Cass Tech graduate is definitely on the rise. But after listening to his recently-dropped mixtape, Finally Famous Vol. 3: BIG, only one word comes to mind: Complacency.

Sean proves once again in this project that his wordplay is among the best in the game. His technical rhyming ability—which catapulted him to local superstardom and national attention—is featured prominently on this tape, his third.

But after a few spins, FFVol.3 becomes extremely redundant. One song about disregarding women and acquiring currency is OK, but an entire project on the subject is reminiscent of bubblegummers like Soulja Boy. Listening to Sean spit smooth verse after smooth verse, one might think he smokes more weed than Cheech & Chong, owns majority shares in Gucci and gets more action than The Hedgehog himself.

And the worst part? Big Sean—the emcee who is supposed to take the reins from Eminem once His Holiness retires—is fine with it. His line in “Too Fake” sums it up: “They say I’m too fake/Fuck it I’m paid/ I can’t even find an empty spot inside my safe.” Sure, the songs are smooth flowing and catchy, but if you want music with deeper meaning, find it somewhere else.

Despite this superfluous, materialistic concept, the 18-track effort isn’t without its merits. The tape’s feature list is a who’s who of new-age hip hop: Drake, Mike Posner, Chiddy Bang, Chip Tha Ripper, Asher Roth and Curren$y. Kanye West is even thrown in on “Glenwood.” And as for beats, production work by Kanye, Xaphoon Jones and The Olympicks give the tape head-nodding feel that never goes over the top.

Sean is at his best in “Supa Dupa Lemonade,” taking Gucci Mane’s infectious piano instrumentals and making them his own. His flow, which some critics claim to be lazier than Biggie’s left eye, sizzles in this song, showing listeners exactly the type of technical talent he has. Toward the end of the song, he spits one of his most impressive sets of lines ever, “First whip Garbo, second whip Largo/ Don’t worry ‘bout my niggas they’re good, Marshall/ Bank account got me feeling well, Fargo/ Balling till I get a milli-check, Darko.”

Sean actually strives for deeper meaning in “Home Town,” delivering a short yet powerful verse to the tune of a slow, sad piano line that’s uncharacteristic of his style. He opens, “When 9/11 dialed up, everybody riled up, 100 gun piled up/ They’ll lay it on the line, make sure you don’t get fouled up/ Hammers in and out of court, nigga don’t get trialed up.”

At times, Sean seems like he can take the next step from local legend to nationwide star. For most of FFVol.3, however, this doesn’t seem to be the case. This mixtape—we should hope—is just a bridge between Sean’s earlier work and Finally Famous, his debut album.

If Sean can take the next step in his album, combining his style with additional substance, then he’ll have a good shot to continue being “the new mayor of Detroit.” Sorry, Dave Bing.

Check out the video for “Supa Dupa Lemonade” below:

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