When Big Sean originally decided he wanted to be a rapper instead of going to college his grandmother disapproved. Big Sean graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA, and was going to Michigan State University. Around that time he realized he wanted to be a rapper full time, but knew he could not also go to college at the same time. He decided to take up rap full time, and his grandmother apprehensively supported his decision. A few years later when she saw him on the cover of the Detroit Free Press she told him that he seemed to have made the right decision for himself. This past year she passed away. He talked about it a bit in his newest album, but recently after his CRWN interview with Elliott Wilson I had the chance to sit down with Big Sean to ask him about it in more detail.
The story of Big Sean's career up to this point has been fairy tale come to life. There was a radio station he used to go to every week while living in Detroit. One day he heard that Kanye West would be at the radio station. He had to borrow $20 for transportation to get there. He only shook Kanye's hand, but as he was walking away tapped him on the shoulder. He told Kanye that he was an MC, and wanted to rap for him. Kanye said he didn't have the time, but softened up when Big Sean called him his hero. Kanye said that he had 16 seconds, but that turned into 10 minutes with a huge crowd that formed around them. Even though Kanye did not sign him at that moment, he started working with him, later signing him to G.O.O.D music.
During his early and later years Big Sean's grandmother always was a huge influence in his life. On his famous song "Blessings" off his new album Dark Sky Paradise, Big Sean raps, 'My grandma just died, I'm the man of the house. So every morning I'm up cause I can't let them down.' Asking him exactly what he meant about that line he said that his grandmother was the head of their household. She acted as the mom, dad, breadwinner, and caretaker her whole life. She was also the inspiration behind his song "One Man Can Change The World." Since her passing this past December he has had to take on a variety of new responsibilities in his family. On the subject he said,
"Other than financially, I have the responsibility of just being a better person. I need to be someone the family can depend on to provide happiness the way my grandma did. I just got back from the Bahamas and Cancun with my dad and brother. I had a lot of works to do, but we also spent time on the beach. We just had fun. It's cool to provide that for my family. There were so many times we couldn't afford anything. I'm just trying to be a better son, brother, cousin, and so on"
The passing of Big Sean's grandmother has been tough on him, and his family. But he is happy she is in a better place now without pain. He said he knows she is smiling down on the family, and is acting as an angel for them. Adjusting to his new role as the head of the household has surprisingly not been a difficult transition according to Big Sean. It was something he wanted to be able to do. He just wants his family to focus on being happy, and not to worry about anything else. That is exactly what he has been doing for them too.
Big Sean has always been close with his family. Recording this past album, and the passing of his grandmother brought them even closer. On his most recently album Dark Sky Paradise he said his family was instrumental in the creative process. He would bring them into the studio during recording, and to listen to tracks he had made to get their opinion.
"Most of my family members aren't in music. Sometimes musicians can sway you a certain way because they have their own strong opinions. With your family they just have your best interests at heart. All they have is how they feel about the song. They all contributed in their own way. I couldn't have done this album without them. Even just moral support."
Right now Big Sean is enjoying life. He has been spending more time with his family, just sold over 150,000 copies of his newest album Dark Sky Paradise in its first week, snagged a number one album on the Billboard charts, and is touring the world performing his music, and living the life he always knew he would. Many people have dreams in their lives, but very few people have what it takes to truly pursue them. Big Sean is someone who went against all conventional wisdom for a long time because he knew something bigger was in store for him. These past few years he has been reaping the rewards of taking those risks, and working as hard as he did. It is difficult to tell what is next for Big Sean, but if there is one thing we know it is that he will keep winning.