Hip-Hop

Big Sean to Release New Album 'Hopefully by the End of the Year': Exclusive

Jatnna Nunez

Big Sean visits our studio in NYC.

The rapper adds that Jay Z & Kanye West will be involved in his forthcoming album: 'You can expect something.'

Things aren't just G.O.O.D. for Big Sean right now, they're great. He signed a management deal with Roc Nation, has a brand-new Adidas sneaker in stores and dropped four new songs -- "I Don't F--- With You," "Paradise," "Jit/Juke" and "4th Quarter" -- on Friday. And if you can believe it, he's just getting started.

On the business front, Sean's contract with the Roc will help him expand more. Although his relationship with former manager Kevin Liles remains in tact, he aligned with Jay Z's popular imprint because the company understood his viewpoint. "They really see my vision [and] what I want to do," emphasizes the 26-year old. "I gave them a chance to help me execute it, and I believe in them. It just feels like a good family over there."

Being signed to G.O.O.D. Music and Roc Nation does have its perks, one being accessibility to Kanye West and Jay Z -- arguably the biggest rappers in the game. "I've been able to sit down with the geniuses over there, including Hov, and go through my music with him. A rapper's dream [is] to be able to sit down and go through your music with one of the greatest rappers of all time," Big Sean tells Billboard. "And then on top of that, being signed to the greatest artists [West]. Working with Kanye is priceless, man; literally priceless. The gems that I get just make me a better person, and a better artist."

He's not sure if Jay and 'Ye will be on his forthcoming third album as featured artists, but they will play a role of some kind. "We'll see," he says. "I've already worked with them so it's already been done. You can expect something though, for sure. Whether [they'll be featured or not], it's good to have those guys involved."

This year ("hopefully") will bring about Big Sean's Hall of Fame follow-up, and a flood of more new music leading up to its release. The end result will be a product of "sleepless nights" he's spent writing and recording. "I loved my last album, man, I think it's great. I think it's awesome, and this album is gonna be different than the last one. Just like the last one's different from the first one, just like my mixtapes are different. I'm in a whole different mind state, that's what life's about. Trying things, listening to your heart, and going with it."

"You can look for it, hopefully by the end of the year," he shares about the upcoming full-length effort

Big Sean Releases 4 New Songs With Kanye West, DJ Mustard & More

For the quartet of new tracks released on Friday, the Detroit spitter commissioned production from 'Ye, DJ Mustard and DJ Dahi ("IDFWU), Mike WiLL Made-It ("Paradise"), Nate Foxx and Da Internz  ("Jit/Juke"), and Key Wane ("4th Quarter"). "I didn't want to put out four songs that were gonna do the same thing. I did them for different reasons," he explains, using "4th Quarter" as an example. The five-minute track re-teams him with Wane (his longtime producing partner whose credits include Beyoncé's "Partition" and Drake's "All Me") and was made for the "day one" fans, and anyone who loves rap as a lyrical sport. "It's strictly for the people who love rap music, and bars after bars on top of bars. I just want to show people that I'm diverse, that I can do all of that. You can expect that type of high level of rap [on the album]. Obviously for the album we got crazy concepts and some good stuff that I think people will enjoy. This is to just start warming them up, get 'em excited."

His upcoming album features another collaboration between Big Sean and Wane: "Me and Key Wane are a very special combination. There's something special about everything we do. He has another single off my album that's not out yet but that you guys will hear soon, with some crazy features on it. That kid has one of the brightest futures I've ever seen man."

Causing the most excitement thus far is the E-40-assisted banger "IDFWU." After the first "I don't f--- with you!" it appears that his ex-fiancée, Glee star Naya Rivera, inspired the music. But that doesn't mean it's a dis record. "I feel like it's an anthem for everybody," he notes. "It's an anthem in every way shape and form, if you don't f--- with somebody from your past, right now, or the other way around, somebody doesn't f--- with you."

Ariana Grande Holds Hands with Big Sean at MTV VMAs 2014

Although he didn't name Rivera directly -- and would only admit to being "happy" in regards to his new relationship (rumored to be with Ariana Grande) -- Sean revealed that "IDFWU" was penned during the engagement. "A lot of people probably think it's a dis record, and the funny thing about it is I wrote the song while I was in my last relationship," he explains. "I actually wrote the song while I was with that person, and they were loving it too."

Of course, some changes were made post-split, "But it's not intended to be a dis song," maintains the rapper. "I feel like it's something like I said that people can really, really relate to."

The boldness of "IDFWU" is the kind of zone that he's been in lately. He's in a "happier" place since calling off the engagement, and has officially entered "beast mode" as far as his career goes.  

"I'm going for blood," he says. "I'm in a hungry space. I'm just having fun with it too, honestly, just not really thinking too hard and enjoying the life I live, learning from experiences, and getting inspiration from them."