Big Sean’s third album ‘Dark Sky Paradise’ is the saddest album of 2015 so far.
‘Dark Sky Paradise’ has a guest-list of producers and guest rappers that any rapper in the world would be lucky to be able to afford money-wise. The guest-list includes Drake, Lil Wayne, E40, Chris Brown, John Legend and none other than Kanye West who is the executive producer for the entire album too. The album in its entirety has about 25 producers including big names such as DJ Mustard and Mike Will Made-It and it shows as some of the production is fantastic. Songs like ‘Paradise’ feature dark ominous trap beats that any skilled MC would be lucky to spit over and boy do they. Drake goes in hard on the track ‘Blessings’ which has him singing a brilliant hook over the top of production that sounds like it was expertly crafted for him. Not only that but E-40 goes in on the hit single ‘I Don’t Fuck With You’ with a fantastic flow on top of that soul sample that everyone is familiar with by now. Kanye even spits pretty well on some of the tracks that he’s on and sings in a way that’s passable in spots too.
There’s one elephant in the room though.
As I said before this is the saddest album of 2015 so far. Why you ask? It’s simply because that if Big Sean’s name wasn’t attached to this and he didn’t moan a single rhyme on here, it would be a passable album instead of one of the worst Hip-Hop albums of the year so far. Alas, mainstream Hip-Hop’s worst rapper at the moment gracefully decides to murder the work of a team of producers and some brilliant guests who outshine Big Sean at every corner. It often feels like the guests have been thrown on to actually save the song from Big Sean. Even when Kanye comes on and shares a verse with him, Sean’s lines feel so insignificant.
The sad thing is that this genuinely sounds like Big Sean upped his game ever so slightly on this album yet it’s still so offensively bad. The problem with Big Sean is that he’s never known what lane he fits into, yet on this album it sounds like he thinks he’s found his lane. He hasn’t. Big Sean has decided that when he raps he’s going to yell until his squeaky voice literally cracks in places. These beats don’t sound like they’re made for him at all. They sound like they should have been made for someone who can A) hold their own on their own track and B) can actually pull off the ‘I’m tough and I can prove it’ look. Right from the first track when Sean attempts to change his flow up ever so slightly it just completely unravels showing how incapable he is at putting together a verse.
The one positive is that now he’s with Ariana Grande he’s not talking so much about banging random girls. No, he’s just talking about banging his one girl in some of the cringiest ways possible. On the hook of his song ‘Paradise’ he sings ‘I always wanted to fuck that bitch/Thank you, God, I fucked that bitch’ and on ‘Stay Down’ he ‘spits’ ‘I ain’t even gonna lie, I got a million dollar chick/With a billion dollar pussy/Every time I cum, I swear to God I feel like I be rich’. He’s constantly sounding like the sort of guy who was hated by everyone before he got money and now he has it, he’s given us even more reason to hate him. He sounds more desperate for attention now than ever before.
The worst crime of this is his god damn punchlines though. The man’s first introduction for many on the song ‘Mercy’ back in 2012 was him opening the track with the line ‘Build a house on that ass/ that’s an asstate’ and he hasn’t got any better since then. For someone who’s never listened to a Hip-Hop record in their life, lines like ‘Niggas want handouts and I only got two’ and ‘Gettin’ dressed up for court, that’s a law suit’ may seem pretty clever, but not for anyone else. There’s just nothing on here that’s remotely compelling even when it should be like on the track ‘One Man Can Change The World’ which is about his Grandmother’s passing. It’s definitely the most compelling than the album but it’s so hard to ignore the fact Big Sean just can’t rap and the fact that John Legend and Kanye sound a whole lot more interesting.
At the end of the day there’s not much more to expect from a rapper who’s best contribution to Hip-Hop was Kendrick Lamar’s incredible verse on his track ‘Control’ and bringing the word ‘Swerve’ to a bigger audience. What’s sad is that this guy has become so unbelievably rich and this will no doubt be the best project we get from him. It’s sad that all the money spent on this album could have been spent on someone who could actually use this production and guests to give the world a fantastic album.
Album rating withou Big Sean: 6/10
Album rating with Big Sean: 2.5/10
Best Tracks: Blessings (only the Drake verse though…)