Big Sean continues to grind like the Detroit rap rookie who delivered 2011’s Finally Famous. While dropping Twitter hints about Sean’s fourth album, the follow-up to his first Billboard 200 No. 1 set Dark Sky Paradise, he also reported for duty at New York’s PlayStation Theater Saturday night (Aug. 27) as a super delegate for the Bud Light Party Convention. The 13-city trek has already included standout performances from 2 Chainz and T-Pain in Boston to Lil Wayne and Chino y Nacho in Houston.
For Saturday’s campaign finale, Sean brought along special guests DNCE, an MTV Best New Artist nominee that delivered its smash hit “Cake By The Ocean”; G-Eazy, who rolled through cuts off his chart-topping album These Things Happen, like “Order More” and “Me, Myself and I”; and a surprise cameo from DJ Khaled, the Snapchat guru who hyped the crowd with the anthem “All I Do Is Win,” the Drake-assisted “For Free,” and the Future and Jay Z collaboration “I Got the Keys.”
Before taking over the stage with a diverse set that included his own DJ Khaled duets like “Holy Key” and “Work For It,” the G.O.O.D Music posse cut “Champions,” several jams from Twenty88 (the duo comprised of Sean and Jhene Aiko) and Paradise smashes like “All Your Fault,” “Blessings” and “I Don’t F–k With You,” the Sean Don sat down with Billboard to talk about the special night and his upcoming LP, which he teases is coming “very soon.”
As a super delegate for New York’s Bud Light Party Convention, what are you trying to accomplish with your show?
I just came here to have fun. I haven’t really though about what I want my show to accomplish, I just know the Bud Light Party Convention is a cool thing they’re doing with artists all around. I’m happy to be in a popping city like New York, especially when it’s so festive right now. It seems like a lot of people are here so I’m just going out there to have fun.
— Sean Don (@BigSean) August 28, 2016
Your surprise guest is DJ Khaled. His Major Key album was a hot ticket to be on. How did you land on “Holy Key” with Kendrick Lamar and “Work For It” alongside Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz?
Khaled said I inspired the track for “Holy Key.” He sent me the beat and then I did my verse to it before any kind of hook was on it or separate verse like Kendrick [Lamar’s], then Khaled was like, “Man, thank you.” Then he said he had the idea to get Betty [Wright] and then get Kendrick. Then for “Work For It,” that was just a song I had but it was just me by myself. I sent Khaled a whole bunch of ideas ’cause I’m working on my album as well and I have a lot of songs that were really good but just didn’t have a place on my album, not because of the quality, I just have a lot of songs that I haven’t released yet. So I sent him a few and he chose “Work For It,” but then he took what I gave him and produced it up, put Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz on it so I didn’t even think to do that.
What was your initial reaction to both songs when you heard the final product?
When I first heard “Holy Key,” I was super happy. I felt like Kendrick added something I didn’t and I added something that he didn’t — our verses are so different but they’re both just well-polished. Great rap song. Great message. I like keeping it positive. And then “Work For It,” Gucci Mane is one of my good friends and so I was just happy for him to get out [of prison]. We did that “Champions” song together with ‘Ye and everybody so I was just happy to do another song with him. Me and him got some more stuff in the works, too.
For your album?
Maybe. We gotta wait and see.
You did tweet that you were with Rick Rubin earlier, so is he executive producing this forthcoming album? [Ed. Note: Big Sean also posted this photo with Jay Z on Twitter after the interview and his performance.]
Man, I can’t give out any details about my album except that it’s my favorite thing that I’ve ever done so far.
Now listening to my 4th album. RR.
Almost time pic.twitter.com/fzK5RfumPO
— Sean Don (@BigSean) August 27, 2016
— Sean Don (@BigSean) August 28, 2016
What side of Sean can we expect to see on this project that we haven’t on previous albums?
I feel like Dark Sky Paradise was the blueprint to my next two to three albums. That was the first album where, when I say blueprint, it means like I didn’t try and conform [to what’s popular], I just did the songs a certain way I was feeling. I stuck to the concepts and I can say that this next one is just like an upgrade from Dark Sky Paradise for sure.
So G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer happened and we didn’t think any sort of follow-up would come along.
It hasn’t happened. It still needs to happen.
But how did “Champions” come together?
I was at Kanye’s crib and we were just going over music. I was playing him some stuff and he was like, “Man, I want to put this song out.” Me and him went into the studio the next day and just did it. Gucci Mane had just got out, he was probably out for like a day or two and then he did that song. Everyone just came together like Transformers or something, Megatron. Everybody just bossed up and did their thing. That was a fun song.
PRAY FOR ME, I’M ABOUT TO HIT THE YE BUTTON pic.twitter.com/TGmFX8Uh2U
— TeamKanyeDaily (@TeamKanyeDaily) June 1, 2016
Are you and Travis Scott reuniting for Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight?
I can’t tell you all that. [Laughs] You gotta wait and see.
What do you love about working with him?
I love his energy. I just seen him grow so much. He’s seen me grow so much, too. Me and him are similar in age but I feel like I’ve seen him, as an artist, grow up. I’ve seen him before he had the braids and shit. I remember being like I don’t know who this Travis Scott guy is then all of a sudden, he kept proving himself. He kept bossing up and I got to hang out with him, got to know him, and then we got to do “Don’t Play” off his Days Before Rodeo. He was on “All Your Fault” on my last album with me and ‘Ye. We just gon’ keep that shit going. That’s one of my brothers right there.
Describe your chemistry with Future and Metro Boomin’ on “Know About Me.”
But that song didn’t come out yet. [Laughs] Me and Metro Boomin’ have been workin’, that’s all I can say. We got some fire, fire shit popping off for the next album. I just appreciate the different sides that he’s gonna show on my album. For the people that think Metro is one-dimensional or one-sided, they’re gonna be completely f–kin’ proven wrong, because he’s a phenomenal producer — 22 years old. Fire. I’m happy he got to play a major role on the next album.