Album Review: Big Sean – Finally Famous

 |  June 22, 2011

Artists: Big Sean

Album Title: Finally Famous

Label: G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam

Release Date: 6/28/2011

In 2005, Big Sean met Kanye West at a local Detroit radio station, spit sixteen bars on the spot and slipped Mr. West his demo tape. In 2007, Sean received what was probably the most unforgettable phone call of his life with ‘Ye on the other end of the line offering him a record deal with G.O.O.D. Music.  In 2011, after four mixtapes and much anticipation… Big Sean is Finally Famous.  Yes the debut album from B I G Sean Don has finally arrived, and yes, it was well worth the wait as Big Sean delivers what is arguably the most complete rap project of 2011 thus far.  Finally Famous contains consistent production courtesy of beat gurus like The Neptunes, Exile and No I.D while Big Sean spits witty lyrics conveyed through one of the most distinctive flows in the game right now, which in turn further cements his presence as one of the leaders of a new generation of hip-hop.

With so much to say about this album, it is only fair that we start at the foundation of any great project, the production.  Finally Famous includes a diverse assortment of beats ranging from always dependable No I.D. piano filled melodies such as “Don’t Wait For Me” and “Memories Part 2” to harder more unique cuts like the bass heavy “Dance (A$$)” and the one of a kind “Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay.” Prior to listening to “Marvin Gay & Chardonnay,” I was expecting a slow, seductive, romantic R&B influenced sound, given the title.  However what my ears were ultimately exposed to was far more interesting. The beat on “Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay” is absolutely insane and easily earns the title of best beat on the album by blending low horns with a high pitched vocal scratch that emulates the sound of mattress springs squeaking up and down. This works so well because every component of the beat somehow co-exists perfectly with the surprisingly arrogant lyrics spit throughout the song.

Although it is not quite as innovative as “Marvin Gay & Chardonnay,” the production on the track “I Do It” is quite funky as well. However the most notable aspect of “I Do It” is Big Sean’s unconventional yet outstanding wordplay.  In his first verse Big Sean demonstrates how he has achieved that rare balance between commercialism and raw talent through a line that references the popular “Family Guy” character Glenn Quagmire and his signature catchphrase: “Rose I sippity-sip-it / I’m Quagmire I f*ck hoes, my cashflow I giggity get it.” Although that line epitomizes all the stereotypical explicit subjects of rap music, the genius behind the structure of Sean’s bars are too clever for even a nun to ignore.

On the other hand there are plenty of tracks that include lyrics quite the contrary from “I Do It.”  Sean displays his softer side on songs like “What Goes Around” and the John Legend assisted “Memories Part 2” as he spits countless rhymes that are extremely personal, and very relatable.  Some of the most memorable lines off “Memories Part 2” include “A workaholic addicted to bills/ People addicted to me cuz they addicted to real / My best friend got addicted to pills / I can’t look at him in his eyes you don’t know how that sh*t feels“. Sean also references that life changing day when he met Yeezy at the radio station in his hometown of Detroit with a line that that just makes you say aww: “Remember the first time I was rhyming for Kan’ / Almost as nervous as the first time I rhymed for my mom.”  The contrast between a song like “I Do It” and a track like “Memories Part 2” really speaks to Big Sean’s depth as an lyricist and is a perfect example of why so many people f*ck with him.

Last but certainly not least, the swag that Big Sean displays on Finally Famous is off the chain.  While it may seem irrelevant, one of the key components to developing a commercially successful sound in today’s rap game is found in the form of adlibs. When done poorly, adlibs can make songs irritating, but when done as successfully as Sean does on pretty much every song, they make an artists presence on a track that much greater.  The constant “I dooo It’s” and “Booooiii’s” swagfully scattered throughout the album shows that Sean has some of the best adlibs in the game, right up there with Rozay’s “unnnnnhhhh’s.”

I honestly could go on and on about this album and break down why pretty much every song on Finally Famous is worth listening to, but that is why you should cop it for yourself.  Whether it’s “High,” a smokers anthem with super stoner Wiz Khalifa, “My Last,” the bubble gum radio smash with a Chris Brown chorus, or “Don’t Wait For Me,” a conscious cut featuring Lupe Fiasco, Finally Famous has something for everyone, just pick your poison.  Big ups to Big Sean, you are now finally famous.

Let’s face it – judging an album on a scale of 1 to 5 mics just won’t cut it — that’s more of a magazine thing.  After constant office arguments regarding album ratings, we’ve decided to revise our album review process and fairly judge an artist’s work across multiple avenues.  At, we believe every album deserves an impartial review, taking into account both music and cultural relevance.


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