'Dark Sky Paradise'
Big Sean might have boarded his flight to rap paradise, but he hasn’t landed yet.
Admittedly, the Detroit rapper delivers his best work yet with the release of his third album “Dark Sky Paradise” on Tuesday. Though Big Sean is able to attract listeners with his clean-cut verses and impressive collaborations, “Dark Sky Paradise” is not quite the masterpiece it could be.
Big Sean had the potential to blow listeners away with some hard-hitting verses over smoother background beats.
Instead, the flows he delivers sound more like the angst-ridden poetry of a young man who just wants to be taken seriously by his older and more popular peers.
That being said, Big Sean does create a successful theme for the album. Every song speaks either implicitly or explicitly about the journey he’s made to get to the charmed lifestyle he is currently enjoying.
He uses lyrics about women, money and fame throughout the entire track list to try to convince his listeners he is indeed a front-runner in the rap game.
I’m not convinced.
On the contrary, I get the sense throughout the album Big Sean is unfulfilled and he still has a lot of respect to gain from his peers. Even the album cover, which shows Big Sean through a layer of steam with his face unrecognizable, seems to be a cry of insecurity.
If Big Sean really feels like he has “made it to the skyscapers,” why is he hiding?
The gems of “Dark Sky Paradise” are “Blessings,” featuring Drake and “One Man Can Change the World,” featuring John Legend and Kanye West. Sadly, the brilliance of these pieces comes primarily from the featured artists.
In “Blessings,” the boastful words of Big Sean and Drake mix well together. The mellow vocals of John Legend complement Big Sean and West’s inspirational verses in “One Man Can Change The World.” Without the contributing artists, these tracks would not be nearly as memorable.
“I Don’t Fuck With You,” is the lone party track on an album of primarily slower songs.
The fact that this overly repetitive, immature song is the main representation of a project with much deeper tracks is telling of the amount of commercial growth Big Sean still needs to go through to become a real game-changer in hip-hop culture.
I’m rooting for Big Sean to reach those metaphorical skyscrapers one day, but for now I think he’s still pretty close to the ground.