Just because you run with Kanye West doesn’t mean your entitled to a free ride. Big Sean knows this all too well as a member of West’s growing G.O.O.D. Music imprint. Instead of waiting on a label push, the 22-year-old emcee has used his Finally Famous mixtape series to build his rep over the last three years. Now that he’s finally approaching the release of his first LP, Sean is making a final tour push to get fans ready for his official introduction to the world.
The last Saturday’s (September 18) event was organized by Gold Ice Circuitry Media, who did an excellent job of getting the word out through a strong viral campaign, and video spots from Sean.
The crowd was heavily composed of young college kids, who were treated to a loaded lineup of opening acts in Plane Jane Hollyweerd, FKi, Re, and Simp. One of the hardest things performance-wise for an artist is trying to win over a crowd that’s unfamiliar with your music. In Hip-Hop, the difficulty can be mounted by bad sound systems which can distort the presentation. Everyone worked very hard, but they were unfortunately performing for a “headline-only crowd,” meaning an audience that would only be hugely receptive for the main act.
Even Atlanta native Pill have trouble breaking the chilly reception despite rocking very good freestyle tributes to Biggie and Big Pun. However, the young emcee displayed an intuitive ability that many rappers never learn; the skill of improvisation. Pill began to intro and close his songs with several humorous anecdotes about his personal life. Many of them were highly unflattering, such as him missing his first cue to come out because he was high, and another about posing as a student to work Clark Atlanta University’s campus as a weed connect. As silly as they were, the short stories won the crowd over, and everyone became more receptive to tracks from his recent 1140: The Overdose mixtape like “On da Korner,” “Hard in Da Trap,” and “We Outside.”
Don Cannon came out to man the turntables for Big Sean’s anticipated appearance. The Detroit emcee opted to hit the stage to “Final Hour,” the opening track off his latest mixtape Finally Famous 3. Immediately, he went right into the airy “Rollin’” off his previous offering Uknowbigsean. That song got an audible pop from the crowd, and set the trend of what type of tracks would elicit the strongest reactions for the rest of the night.
Today, mainstream Hip-Hop emphasizes melody and harmony more so than lyrical dexterity. So it was not surprising that Sean’s sing-song pieces like “Meant to Be” and “Desire, Want & Need” were big favorites with the audience. Still, those in attendance who prefer their Hip-Hop with a sharper edge were treated to joints like “Closet” and “Fast Raps.” Being in Atlanta, Sean made sure to put extra energy into his vocal and stage movements for “Supa Dupa Lemonade,” his version of the popular Gucci Mane single.
Big Sean concluded his set with “What U Doin, Bullshitting,” which allowed the crowd to have a big call and response finale courtesy of the track’s chorus. Afterward, Sean was gracious enough to remain in the venue to greet fans and conduct local interviews.
Big Sean’s Finally Famous mixtape series essentially tells the story of someone “arriving” in life by achieving their professional goals. What Sean’s learned is that the process never truly ends as long as there’s breath in your body. His next test will the release of his debut album sometime this fall. So far, things are looking promising.
Ismael AbduSalaam is a senior staff writer for AllHipHop.com, and the creator of Beats, Boxing and Mayhem, a website specializing in boxing and Hip-Hop coverage.