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“Dark Sky Paradise” Album Review: Big Sean Drops Best Project Yet

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Detroit native Big Sean’s third album “Dark Sky Paradise” is a take on his fame and all that comes with it.  The good and the bad. Talent wise, Big Sean has all the goods and he’s shown that in appearances leading up to this album. Big Sean has proven that he can hang with the best the game has to offer, doing tracks like “Clique” with Kanye West and Jay-Z; “Diamonds” in which he pretty much steals the song from Common and “Detroit VS Everybody” where he stood on his own on a posse cut that featured Royce Da 5’9″ and Eminem.

Big Sean  has a way of keeping his cool on a track until he turns it up rapidly.  His rapid delivery is chaotic by design and contains short rhyme schemes that match up sometimes three times within a bar–but he never sacrifices the legitimacy of what he’s saying for the sake of rhyme-scheme.

Big Sean has a playful personality which he puts on full display on this album, but he also shares a side that he doesn’t share on those features.  A side that his fans, new and old will surely welcome.

Big Sean comes out swinging with the first four tracks of this album, opening with “Dark Sky.”  Sean keeps his song writing mentality as if he never made it and that’s what keeps his delivery and tone sounding hungry throughout this album: “And they say it happened for me overnight, sh*t, yeah I guess / I guess it took ten years for me to be an overnight success. . . I’m from where crime breeds, her t*tt*es out like ‘sign these’ / I knew I lived this life back when I was young and used to climb trees / I should’ve known back then, I wasn’t gonna stop / Cause even then I was infatuated with just sittin’ at the top.” 

Big Sean’s confidence shows, as he doesn’t shy away from big name features on the album.  Drake makes an appearance on “Blessings” which is produced by Vinylz.  The track has an eerie horror-film-feel to it as the two artists do what they do best on a track – brag.  “All Your Fault” not only features a hyped-up Kanye West, but also features the soulful production from Kanye that many of us have missed.

Mr. West samples Ambrosia’s “How Much I Feel” to perfection, equipping it with triple-timed snares and screwed up vocals in the hook. Big Sean’s flow is on point as he delivers: “Oh boy, I’m madder until these records gettin’ shattered / Til I’m MJ or Magic, oh she just want the status / So you the man she got, but I’m the man she been after / She dones sent so many naked pics my phone ain’t got no data.”  Sean and Kanye finish the song by bouncing off of each other line for line, showing a great chemistry between the two.

Sean’s hit single has been “I Don’t F With You.”  For such an explicit song, credit has to be given to Big Sean for getting this so much airplay (currently on Billboards Top 10).   The track is co-produced by Kanye West and DJ Mustard, who is pumping out more hit records than anyone at the moment.

Unfortunately, DJ Mustard throws a dud at Big Sean with “I Know” which ends up having a nice baseline, but the song itself goes no where and has the listener losing interest quickly. “Play No Games” features Chris Brown and Ty Dolla Sign but sounds too much like too many other things out right now.

The song isn’t a terrible listen, but it’s been done  a million times before.

Aside from those bumps in the road, the album itself entertains the whole way through.  “Paradise” was a song leaked weeks before the album came out and is another dark sound, with horns guiding the Mike Will Made It produced track.  Big Sean shines the hardest as an MC on the second verse of this song with back to back one liners like : “I’m from the D, F*ck your  A-list / I been working 8 days a week / I don’t even know what today is / I hit the booth and I just went super saiyan / I run with the purp like i play with the Ravens / These b#tches rant and raven / I hope I never have to go back to watching Everybody Loves Raymond / Eaten ramen, n*gg@ this is paradise.”

Big Sean stops with the playful-show-off antics and breaks down on tracks like “Win Some Lose Some” and “Deep.”   Sean makes reference to his success in terms of it separating it from his friends and family.  He seems to be honest in saying he’s struggling with what’s right and wrong at the moment and he questions if people are loyal to him because of his fame.  “I got four aunties, two uncles, one dad / One mom, two brothers, and 200 n*gg@s mad / And it’s only one me, divide it and do that math.”  Lil’ Wayne’s feature on “Deep” was a nice surprise because now-a-days you just don’t know what kind of Wayne you’ll get on a track.

This time around though, Wayne matched the emotion of Big Sean who’s hook was as honest as he could be : “Man, I look up to God, I wonder if I fell from the sky / Will I hit the ground or will I learn how to fly? / I’m pretty sure you see it in my eyes / Sometimes I wonder if I already died / That shit get deep. . .” 

“One Man Can Change the World” is the kind of honesty hip hop should offer more of, but unfortunately we see it in few artist. In an interview with MTV, Big Sean spoke about his grandmother’s passing before this album was done–which is why the album has such a dark undertone to it.  His dedication to her can ignite goosebumps to the listener: “. . .Right there on Outer Drive, and she taught me how to drive /She raised the kids, then the kids’ kids and she did it right / Taught me how to love, taught me not to cry / When i die, I hope you teach me how to fly.”

Big Sean is 26 years old and may have released his best project yet.  He’s grown as an artist and seems to be comfortable experimenting with different sounds and emotions. Hopefully this isn’t the best we’ll hear from him in his career because it would be nice to see this talent of his only grow.

Rating: 8 out of 10

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio


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