My main concern going into this album was whether or not Big Sean would be able to remain consistent throughout the entire piece. Because, let’s be real, over the past 3 Finally Famous mixtapes, Big Sean has shown flashes of being great and flashes of a generic rapper with sub-par punchlines. Prior to hearing his debut album, I crowned Finally Famous Vol.2 as Sean’s best work. It was the most consistent and had the most highs throughout. Then came Vol.3, and we saw Big Sean take different lanes/sounds of music for his, production wise – for example, Too Fake, etc. The music style was varied and it came across as slightly messy and misplaced, but it was a huge step from the first Finally Famous mixtape, where Big Sean was still heavily experimenting with flows and voice shifts.
As a whole, I was extremely concerned with Big Sean and rather or not he could remain consistent. These concerns skyrocketed when his single, My Last started getting radio play and he started becoming more popular so quickly. I wondered if he was blowing up TOO quickly. I was worried that he might not be able to do a project that really showcased his talents to the fullest, because he would focus on the mainstream music that helped him rise to his popular status. Let’s face it. In the time between Finally Famous Vol.3 to Finally Famous: The Album, Big Sean’s fanbase and popularity grew exceedingly fast. Especially seeing as FF Vol.3 wasn’t a huge commodity outside of his fanbase. My concerns were real, I even wrote an extended article about it (you can read it here -> http://bit.ly/lYe2Cf). So naturally, going into his album, I was very skeptical. My skepticism was quickly vanished.
Big Sean continues with his usual humor and punchline ridden raps, which is a plus. Do what works. Tracks like Dance go over really well in that it is a strip-club type song, but it still has the integrity of any other Big Sean track because his charisma and humor oozes throughout the entirety of the song, it’s respectable – even with an MC Hammer sample. Another instrumental fact about Big Sean’s album that helped remove my skepticism pre-listening was the fact that No I.D. produced the bulk of it. It is indeed in good hands. The production is extremely viable in that Big Sean sounds comfortable over every beat on the album. It almost makes you forget that the album doesn’t even have a Kanye beat. The album officially ends at track #12, So Much More, but with the deluxe edition it extends to a total of 16 songs. After hearing So Much More for the first time, it immediately reminded me of how Kanye West ended his first album out with Last Call – which is an amazing song. I would later learn that Big Sean has said that Last Call greatly inspired him. The connection and influence is there and it is indeed a perfect ending to this album.
1. Intro: 3.5/5
2. I Do It: 4.25/5
3. My Last (feat Chris Brown): 4.25/5
4. Don’t Tell Me You Love Me: 3.5/5
5. Wait for Me (feat Lupe Fiasco): 4.25/5
6. Marvin & Chardonnay (feat Kanye West & Roscoe Dash): 3.75/5
7. Dance (A$$): 4.25/5
8. Get It (DT) (feat Pharrell): 4.5/5
9. Memories, Pt. 2 (feat John Legend): 3.75/5
10. High (feat Wiz Khalifa & Chiddy Bang): 3.75/5
11. Live This Life (feat The-Dream): 4/5
12. So Much More: 4.75/5
13. What Goes Around: 3.75/5
14. Celebrity (feat Dwele): 5/5
15. My House: 4.5/5
16. 100 Keys (feat Rick Ross & Pusha T): 4.25/5 (Big Sean executed a triple entendre in his verse, “My niggas keep that lowkey…Barry White”. It’s a triple meaning, chew on that one)
Standing at a solid 12 songs with 4 outstanding bonus track, Finally Famous: The Album is fit for repeated rotations and is the exact type of cohesive and consistent project that I feared Big Sean would never be able to do. And for that, he deserves all the praise he’s getting for this strong debut. – @ELBOOMBIP