On Wednesday (Jan. 18), Big Sean sat down with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe to discuss his new album I Decided, set to drop Feb. 3. During the extensive interview, the Detroit MC speaks on teaming up with Eminem for “No Favors,” his creative process, his “undeniable chemistry” with Jhene Aiko, thoughts on fatherhood, and more.
Zip through the highlights below.
1. Big Sean Teams Up With Eminem for “No Favors”
After lending a helping hand on Eminem’s 2014 track “Detroit vs. Everybody,” Big Sean earned a feature from the “Lose Yourself” MC for his new album. According to Sean, Eminem was the only person he envisioned being on “No Favors.” “When I heard [Eminem’s] verse, I was playing that back over and over again,” says Sean.
2. Kanye West Makes His Presence Felt on I Decided
Even though West didn’t land a feature on I Decided, he played an integral role in helping Sean craft his newest effort. “Kanye definitely had a presence on this whole album,” says Sean. West helped Sean make several key changes on tracks like “Owe Me” and his The-Dream-assisted single “Sunday Morning Jetpack.”
3. Fatherhood Isn’t on Big Sean’s Radar
During his interview with Lowe, Sean reveals his aspirations to one day be a father, but he also admits that his ambition to cement his legacy as an artist currently trumps his dreams of being a dad. “I don’t know when I’m gonna have kids,” he said. He further punctuated his point by adding that he’s currently too “committed to his art and craft.”
4. Big Sean Describes His Hall of Fame Era as the “Worst Feeling Ever”
Sean is candid about his lackluster effort Hall of Fame. For him, it was hard to be a fan of that album because he wasn’t completely himself. The rapper then explains how he endured a “terrible relationship” and was “relying on other people” during the time he was putting the LP altogether. For him, Dark Sky Paradise was his first album where he felt at peace with himself.
5. He Thinks His Chemistry With Jhene Aiko Is “Undeniable”
The two first linked up when Sean tapped Aiko for a feature on his 2012 mixtape Detroit. Since then, Sean describes their chemistry as “undeniable.” He also says that he “always gets a special feeling” when they pair up for a new track.
6. Sean Doesn’t Write Down Any of His Lyrics
While admitting that he doesn’t jot down his lyrics in a notebook, Sean tells Lowe how everything just “flows through me” as if undergoing a “stream of consciousness” when he’s in the studio. “I have a reference mic in the studio, meaning I have a mic in the booth, and I kind of have a karaoke-looking mic that’s outside the booth that can catch all of my references. That’s how I come up with most of my music,” he explains. Sean also revealed how he always meditates before heading to the studio: “It really is a spiritual thing for me.”
7. I Decided is Big Sean’s “Snapshot of Life”
“I Decided means so many things. I feel like life is all about the decisions you make. This is what I decided. That’s why I put a period in the end of it. because it’s definitive. I Decided. Period. You go through the different moments in life and they make you who you are,” he said.
8. Andre 3000 and Rick Rubin Listened to the Entire Album
Besides Zane Lowe, Big Sean allowed Andre 3000 and Rick Rubin to get a full taste of his fourth album. After playing the project for Andre 3000 at his house, Sean says that the Outkast lyricist told him that he “didn’t waste one line.” He also says that the two have talked about collaborating at some point down the line.
9. Big Sean Raps the Opening Lines From His New Album
“I spent my whole life tryin’ to improvise/ I’m not saying that sh– for you to sympathize/ I spent my whole life tryin’ to find that light that’s at the end of the tunnel/ I should have realized it was inside,” spits Sean.
Check out highlight videos from Lowe’s interview with Big Sean below: