BIG SEAN BIOGRAPHY
Some may call it luck, but for Detroit based MC Big Sean, his chance meeting with Kanye West in 2005 was the exact moment when his hard work finally started to pay off.
After rapping for the multi-platinum superstar in a radio station hallway, Big Sean stayed in touch with Mr. West and eventually signed to Island Def Jam through G.O.O.D. Music in March of 2008. Now, he is gearing up to release his debut album which not only includes features from some of today’s most highly respected artists but also gives listeners an in-depth look into the life of an MC who is so committed to his craft, he puts everything he has into each and every rhyme.
Big Sean was born Sean Anderson in Santa Monica, California and moved to Detroit with his parents at two months old. When Sean reached kindergarten, his mother enrolled him in a Waldorf school where children’s creativity is heavily nurtured and developed.
“I grew up in the hood in Detroit and went to a private school in a super nice neighborhood, so I got to see the best of both worlds,” says Sean. “It was a real artsy school. We learned three or four different instruments and spoke Spanish and German for eight years. I owe a lot to that school because that’s where I started making music and gained a love for poetry.”
When he was twelve, Sean started rapping, a talent that came to him naturally thanks to his artistic background. “I was really into the whole Bad Boy era,” he remembers. “That’s what really made me want to rap because girls liked Mase and Puff Daddy. But when I started hearing people like Jay-Z and 2Pac, that’s when I really developed a love for music.”
The following year, he enrolled in a Detroit public high school where he met fellow MC Pat Piff, with whom Sean would later form the group S.O.S. When they were sixteen, the duo entered the Friday Night Cypher, an MC contest at the Detroit hip-hop radio station, 102.7 FM. S.O.S. won the battle and were awarded the chance to rap live, on-air, for the entire city to hear. “It was a really big thing,” remembers Sean. “We were like high school celebrities.”
The performance was so popular, they were asked back to the station every Friday night for nearly a year. “One day between junior and senior year, Kanye was down at the station promoting Late Registration and my boy called me and said ‘if you down to the station and rapp for him, he’ll sign you,’” says Sean. “I was like, ‘you sound crazy.’ He was like, ‘forget that, you need to go rap for him!’”
Sean decided to take his friend’s advice and drove straight to the station with one of his demos in hand. “I had never met a celebrity so my heart was beating out of my chest,” remembers Sean. “I was like, ‘Yo Kanye, you’re one of my favorite rappers, can I rap for you real quick?’ He was like, ‘Alright, you have sixteen bars, but you gotta rap while we’re walking out.’ I was freestyling and thinking the best lines I had. I ended up rapping for like ten minutes straight.”
Kanye was thoroughly impressed by the courageous young MC and invited him to a private listening session later that night. Sean showed up and waited for his chance to ask ‘Ye if he was looking to sign any new artists. Kanye insisted that they would be in touch and Sean left feeling as if he had made the connection of a lifetime.
A year later, Sean received a call from Don C, Kanye’s Road Manager who asked Sean to fly to New York to meet with G.O.O.D. Music President John Monopoly. “Basically he was like, ‘We want to hear a little bit more music before we decide to make an investment in you. So we are going to give you some tracks and see what you can do.’”
Sean and Pat went home to record. While everyone at G.O.O.D. Music was impressed with the songs, their response was not anticipated. “Our manager hit us up one day like, ‘I got some great news!’” says Sean. “‘G.O.O.D. Music wants to sign Sean, but they don’t want to sign the group.’ It was real bitter sweet.”
Sean officially signed to G.O.O.D. Music at the end of 2007. Around the same time, he released his first solo mixtape, Finally Famous, Vol. 1 which included an intro from Kanye. With over 60,000 downloads, Finally Famous was a huge success.
In March of 2008 Sean signed to Island Def Jam. He spent the remainder of the year traveling the world with his mentor on the Glow In The Dark tour, where he was able to observe the life of an international icon. The following Spring, Sean released his second mixtape, UKNOWBIGSEAN, which BET named one of the best mixtapes of 2009. Now, at age twenty-one, he is getting ready to release his commercial debut, Finally Famous, an LP Sean says will resonate with anyone who has ever taken a leap of faith.
“I want my album to be something that people can include themselves in,” he says. “I want people to be able to relate to it in the sense that if you’re doing something and you’re being recognized for it, you’re finally famous.”
Finally Famous is an eye-opening look into the inner workings of a highly skilled artist. On the bounce heavy song “Made,” produced by Kanye West and Wrightrax, Sean and guest star Drake rap about never feeling satisfied when it comes to success. “Donald Trump” is a collaboration with Pharrell about making it big.
Sean also touches on a lot of relationship issues including “I Almost Wrote You A Love Song” about a couple’s communication breakdown. “My biggest strength I feel is being able to be myself on all of my songs,” says Sean.
While they may have met by chance, it’s no coincidence that Sean was hand picked by Kanye to represent the future of G.O.O.D. Music.
“I remember in the eighth grade I told myself, man I’m going to be signed to Def Jam,” says Sean. “I always put it out into the universe and I think it was written for me. I was meant to inspire people, I was meant to make music… This is what I was meant to do.”