With 2015 being arguably the biggest year of Big Sean's career it would be understandable for him to take the holidays off and reflect on how far he’s come in the last five years.
But with new emcees emerging daily and an unpredictable sonic landscape that allows very little room for error, the Motor City rhymer knows there’s no time to rest on his laurels, so like too many of us he spent Thanksgiving working.
In addition to performing during halftime of the Detroit Lions game, Sean also made headlines after he dropped snippets of new collabs with Future, Metro Boomin and Mike WiLL Made It during his sold out show for Red Bull’s 30 Days in L.A. concert series.
He was then off to Dubai by December, when his L.A. house was robbed. Some say it was an inside job, but as he told BET.com, he doesn't hang with "a lot of dummies."
So what is the key to his success? You don't have to steal to find out. Read this for free.
In the spirit of the season what are you thankful for from this past year?
I’m thankful for my fans. I’m thankful for the people around me. I don’t hang around a lot of dummies. I got a lot of people that I started with but everybody seems to be on the same vibration. I’m not one of those rappers or people in general that just - I don’t really party that much. I don’t really do drugs, I just kinda do my thing, vibe out and enjoy life. I was very thankful for the fans, the supporters. I like to call them “Dons.” I call myself “Sean Don” because I’m a boss, I made myself a boss, and I want my fans to embody that too so I call them “Dons” because I want them to hear my music and feel like they can boss up and get what they want too. I’m thankful for the people I’m working with, the new relationships I’ve made this year professionally. I’m thankful for my gift creatively. being able to just make music is really a crazy process cause I don’t even write any of my lyrics down. I just kinda go in the booth and it just comes to me.
So you don’t write anything down these days?
No, I don’t really write anything down I just listen to the beats or I’ll just have an idea in my head and I’ll just lay it down and make a beat around it. It just comes to me instead of me having to sit with a pencil and pad so I definitely gotta thank God for that cause it’s clearly a higher power that helps me out and gives me inspiration.
You mentioned being thankful for new work relationships. You dropped some snippets of your collars with Future, Mike WiLL and Metro Boomin. Who else are you in the lab with for this next project?
Some of the same producers I’ve been working with from Key Wane to DJ Dahi, Kanye of course and there’s new producers, I got Tommy Brown, Mike WiLL, Metro Boomin, Boi-1da and then as far as artists, Jhené Aiko has been a long time collaborator of mine and one of my best friends. Her and I got some amazing new music on the way. Everybody who’s really been there for me creatively. When things work, when I got good vibes with people I like to keep collaborating with them, John Legend. I don’t want to give too much away but there’s gonna be some new collabs.
Speaking of people you worked with, a lot of people don’t know that you and Mike Posner were friends and worked together before either of you are famous. Are guys still as tight as you were before you were finally famous?
We’re definitely still tight. I don’t see Mike Posner a lot but honestly I don’t see anybody a lot these days because I’ve been busy as f**k all year. I got a chance to spend time with Mike Posner in Detroit when he came out at the show. I brought him out, I brought Eminem out, I brought Lil Wayne out, I brought DeJ Loaf out and it was major for the city. It was crazy because those were times me and him used to talk while about sitting in his mom’s basement. Nobody knew who we [were], just making music, so it’s come a long way. I can honestly say, even though I don’t talk to Mike Posner as much, he knows he’s like my brother. He knows I got nothin’ but love for him.
You’ve made hit songs like “IDFWU” which seemed like they came from a personal place but also other popular joints that did not so much. How much does your personal life influence your music?
Sometimes my personal life inspires the music. Sometimes it’s not even directly about me. I feel like as an artist you’re painting pictures. Sometimes you [draw] inspiration from your own story and you formulate a story that fits the song or concept better, but mainly, pretty much what I do go through is what I rap about and is the inspiration or the fuel behind the songs. I promised myself when I was working on my last album that I’m only making music that’s therapeutic to me: Music that means something, music that is for my listeners, for my fans and most importantly for myself. I’m not trying to make no music for the radio, I’m not trying to make music for any reason except for the sake of being a good musician and making good music, and it ended up being my most successful project yet. So, I’m down to keep with that formula.
BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.
Watch: BET Breaks: Rihanna Is Ready to Take ‘ANTI’ on the Road in the video below.
(Photos from left: Mike Windle/Getty Images for A+E Networks, Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images, Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)