Exclusive: Big Sean Explains Big Revelation in ‘Hall of Fame’

Robert Gardner
August 29, 2013 5:40 PM ET

Freestyle party rhymes come to mind when you think of Big Sean – "My Last," "Dance," "Do It" and his phenomenal, show-stealing verse on Kanye West's "Mercy."

But don't pigeonhole one of Detroit's finest MCs. His sophomore album, "Hall of Fame," out August 27, has generated heat for its introspective songs "Fire" and "Beware" that tackle persevering despite obstacles and recounting the downfall of a relationship.

While "Hall of Fame" has its share of fun tracks, Sean says he intentionally sought to highlight more substance this time around.

"It's funny, going into my second album, all of my friends are like, 'Man, you live like a hippy,'" Big Sean tells Yahoo! Music's The Aftermath in an exclusive interview. "'You live peaceful. … You have to let people know that side of you.' I made that side more available this time."

Seeing the demise of his hometown also had an impact on his decision to promote more substance in his music. It is unsettling for him to drive past blocks of vacant homes infested with drug dealings and rapings of young girls.

"I wanted to make sure in this moment in time that if I'm the one who has the platform from Detroit, and that's young and is a black man, I wanted to make sure I tell those stories too," he says.

During his interview with The Aftermath, Big Sean offers the back stories on "Hall of Fame" songs "Toyota Music," "Sierra Leone," "MILF," "World Ablaze" and "Ashley."

More The Aftermath Episodes:

Mateo Explains Why He Doesn’t Sing Over Hip-Hop Beats
Gangsta Boo Says There Is No Bad Blood With Juicy J

Jay Sean: 'I Didn't Get Into Music To Be Famous'
Iggy Azalea Says T.I. Gives Great Personal Advice
Rodney Jerkins and Joy Enriquez Say Their Reality Show is ‘Positive, Family Content’

Video and editing: Robert Gardner

Follow Billy on Facebook, Twitter.
Follow Soren on Amazon, Twitter.
Follow Big Sean on Official Website, Twitter.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Yahoo Hip Hop Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

More Song Stories entries »