Monday, May 11, 2009


As I brush that dust off my shoulders from a little self imposed internet exile I find myself enjoying some new music (and some old) more than I had in months. In the words of Eminem (I’ve got plenty to say, be on the lookout for an in depth look at Relapse on the 19th) “Music gets me high again.”

While everyone is still busy trying to define this burgeoning new movement within hip hop that has at times been described as “Hipster Hop” I’m gonna say we just call it some damn good rap music!

Across the board we are seeing new, young artists pushing the bounds of what once was considered “comfortable” within our all to close minded genre. While Kanye has been busy doing his best Mike Jack impression and getting his ego deflated by South Park we have seen Big Sean sit on the shelf and collect some dust. Luckily he isn’t the patient type and has grabbed the premier mixtape DJ Mick Boogie for his latest jawn, UKNOWBIGSEAN.

If missed the lead off track from this project we are privy to the Big one going in on his boss’s own “Say You Will” to great effect. While the beat has already pulled some great performances from a number of emcees this has to rival any of them. Over the haunting choir and synthetic sounds we hear Big Sean speak his mind about his future, goals and the detractors that are bound to come, or perhaps already have:

I been signed to ye for well over a year now
It’s clear now
I’m gonna focus on my career now
You taught me the creative process
Saying that you changed my life is me being modest
But honestly I wish I could take you off tour
Put you in the studio
So you can focus more on my shit
And I don’t mean to sound selfish
But I’m not an artist who is selfless

He may not be selfless, but he is honest and knows exactly what he wants. While Hip Hop has been plagued by numerous artists posturing for the streets Big Sean and his peers aren’t interested in being something they aren’t. Yes his kicks are fresher and his Bape tee is crisper. His jeans might be a little skinny and his fitted cocked to the side doesn’t make him a gangster.

But we know clothes don’t got shit to do with the music, and don’t worry there is more here than a rehash from the latest hypebeast post. Sean and Mike Posner (get familiar! (c) Clinton Sparks) have been making music together for awhile, dropping off their smooth cut “Who Knows” here. Over some light guitar and a pop ready drum loop Sean speculates on his future and weaves some great punch lines into the story.

Far from a punch line rapper, Sean’s best cuts here are when he gets his everyman on stepping out of the cloud that is his rock star life and lets us see the human behind the brand.

“Desire, Want, Need” will strike a chord with anyone trying to achieve something that they have longed for, “Billionaire” will get you hyped up and who doesn’t want to see their money stacks multiply? The beat complete in its frantic glory fits the point of the song and has a fresh break down with some deep hand claps but will prove to agitate upon multiple listens.

These moments humility in his lyrics aren’t as prevalent as some might like and no one will be quick to think he is the second coming of Slug or Phonte, but even after a track as blatantly arrogant as his “Intro” in which he asks the question “Do I really need an intro?” you can’t count it against him. He is open about what he wants – money and material things and he is certainly in the right industry for it.

UKNOWBIGSEAN will serves as a great project to do just that. By the end of the tape you will have a pretty good understanding of who this 20 year old kid is. He is known by legends on the mic, on the boards and in the boardrooms – MC Serch says he thinks he will change the game and if this tape is any indication he will be saying good bye to the finally famous mantra and welcoming celebrity status.

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