Monday, September 6, 2010

Finally Famous Vol. 3: B.I.G (Review) - Big Sean

(Produced by Key Wane unless noted)

1. Final Hour | 4:26 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by Don Cannon & Nick Cage)

“Workin’ graveyard shifts because we here to make a ... killin’”

2. Meant To Be | 4:00 | 2.75 - 3 (Produced by DJ Spinz)

“Remain a stand-up n*gga like I was standing in front of the urinal.”

3. What U Doin’ (Bullshittin’) | 2:36 | 3.25 - 3.75 (Produced by The Olympicks)

"And now I put it in her mouth, and that bitch look like a conehead.”

4. Money & Sex (Featuring Bun B) | 3:47 | 4 - 4.25 (Produced by No I.D)

Big Sean kills the third verse. “Lifes a beach so I’m always getting laid.” “I’m in the back seat, getting my dick wet / Fell asleep while getting brain, that’s a headrest.” No I.D gives an odd, strangely fascinating production front.

5. Five Bucks (5 On It) (Featuring Chip Tha Ripper & Curren$y) | 3:42 | 3.75 - 4

“Acting all stuckup, now they just stuck from smoking with us.” I’ll give credit to Chip Tha Ripper for the extra effort he put in, made a nice flowy verse.

6. High Rise | 3:25 | 4.25 - 4.75 (Produced by Don Cannon)

The production and the verses are plain ridiculous. “Paranoid because every rapper named Big got bodied.” Gives a little jab here with the stealing flows thing.

7. Crazy | 2:35 | 3.25 - 3.5 (Produced by The Olympicks)

8. Hometown | 2:51 | 2.75 - 3 (Produced by Elised Of Treal)

9. Supa Dupa Lemonade | 3:34 | 3.25 - 3.75 (Produced by Bangladesh)

10. Fat Raps (Remix) (Featuring Chuck Inglish, Asher Roth, Chip Tha Ripper, Dom Kennedy & Boldy James) | 5:56 | 3.5 - 4 (Produced by Chuck Inglish)

Should’ve just taken everyone out except Chuck Inglish and add Curren$y again. Production has the warm bass which is always nice.

11. My Closet (Featuring SAYINAINTTONE) | 3:56 | 3.25 - 3.75

Confused when SAYINAINTTONE says “We got some haters in our closet and we use them for targets,” and then says later on in the first verse, “Yeah I got it all except them haters in my closet.” Sean kills his own verse.

12. Too Fake (Featuring Chiddy Bang) | 4:21 | 2.5 - 3 (Produced by Xaphoon Jones)

13. Fuck My Opponent (Featuring Tyga) | 3:43 | 3.75 - 4 (Produced by Trilliowz)

14. Made (Featuring Drake) | 3:39 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by Wrightrax)

“I’m the highlight, like when markets glow.” Drake is really taking that Bun B-UGK thing seriously isn’t he?

15. Ambigious (Featuring Mike Posner & Clinton Sparks) | 4:54 | 3.75 - 4 (Produced by Clinton Sparks)

Sure the verses are embarrasingly bad, but Mike Posner croons ridiculously good for once, crooning that question every guy has with one miss.

16. Almost Made You A Love Song (Feautring Suai) | 3:57 | 4 - 4.25

Everything that this song said is written with purpose, and I especially like when Big’s last verse falters, and Suai croons with the breakdown. Ridiculous song.

17. Memories | 3:34 | 3.25 - 3.5

18. Glenwood (Bonus Track) (Featuring Kanye West) | 2:39 | 4 - 4.25 (Produced by Kanye West)

“Ya’ll illy, I’m iller, I’m from Illnois.” “B-I-G is, gee whiz, he is / Sure he’ll be the man ever since a fetus.”

Overall Rating: 62 - 68.25 | 70 - 76% | 3.65 / 5 | Impressive; well above average; TRY IT

It all started with the Supa Dupa Lemonade video released at the beginning of the last year. Partly based off his recent XXL Freshman 2010 freestyle he did, and then adding to that, it looked like a new beginning for the G.O.O.D Music signee, and finally gave him something to characterize him besides the electro-tinged Getcha Some. Soon though, disgruntled fans and impatient critics soon began to wait for the constant delays, starting from Feburary, March, July, and finally it dropped on August 31st 2010. Probably due to the prolonged wait, or just the dissatisfaction of Big Seans material lately, it’s been said that Big Sean is just merely a uncharacteristic punchline rapper with a lack of ideas. Yet you have to ask yourself, isn’t it harder being original than just giving your fans a cohesive tape? Does it really matter in this decade currently whether your ideas have to be the most innovative, or the most experimental or quirky?

For now, the answer is a simple no. Currently we have stars like Rick Ross, Drake even people like Bruno Mars, all become famous even without providing any sort of characterisitic that they themselves pioneered. Rick Ross continues on the gangster mannerisms his predecessors have done, Drake crooning and rapping, just continuing on what other rappers have merely dabbled in, and Bruno Mars co-writing summer hits (Right Round, and his own summer hit, Just The Way You Are) Sure originality is a definite plus, but the critics of Big Sean act like it is his fatal flaw.

If anything, I’m more concerned with Big Sean’s blatant pop attempts. Getcha Some was Big Seans pop-opus, a electronica-tinged breakbeat along with blasting synths, and it seems to be the formula Big Sean seems to be following. Yet, why is Big Sean wasting his time on dull songs such as Too Fake (Just for the one, two, the relatively popular electronica-rap artist Chiddy Bang is on here too), or even songs like Meant To Be, a typical song about how Big was meant to be. Or if anything, we can be concerned about Big Sean’s choice of production. We’ve got songs like Hometown or Crazy that are just drab, monotonous tracks that could easily be added to Big Seans opponents arsenal of criticism.

Of course, you’ve got ridiculous tracks such as the horn and strings blaring High Rise, or the Drive Slow-sampling, 5 On It, even the moody, 808-minimalist dabblings of No I.D on the typically titled track, Money & Sex. Sure. Hell, you could even add the Finally Famous album-castaway, the piano-clunking rapping-duo Glenwood, with Kanye and Big Sean coming off each others lines. they don’t exactly demand different, but they simply demand a couple of undiscriminating ears to listen. The results are well worth it, as Big Sean constantly demonstrates his lyrical punchline muscle that’s made him so watched for these few years. From the first track, and even on his pop attempts, Big Sean always drops that one-liner or those several lines that makes your ears ring, making smiles and just providing a bunch of fun. It’s also fortunate for the kid that he can pretty much rap about the same things, and twist and formulate his punchlines for any occasion(Except Kanye, who just stole Glenwood with that Illinois line. Too ill.) Is that really a problem for anyone? After all I believe being an emcee was about entertaining the crowd, and if Big Sean can do that, that’s fantastic and simply, good for him.

What surprised me though was the two pop-songs that Big Sean nestled in near the end, which were the songs Ambigious and Almost Wrote You A Love Songs. While the simple glance at them already gives me shudders, and the featuring of Mike Posner was about to make me skip it, I just happened to listen to it. It was about ten at night and I was coming home on the train from a workout at the gym. It just hit me. Somewhere between Mike Posner’s crooning and Suai’s lovely singing it proved to me that, these are good, actually great songs. While Ambigious is a faded-late night daze, Almost Wrote You A Love Song simple works off that- ambigious feeling, allowing Big Sean and Suai to go back and forth talking about a lost love. This moment was simply unexpected and really interested me to see what Big Sean can do for his debut.

I think the main problem, admist all of the other previous stated is the fact that Big Sean isn't new. After all he has been doing this same kind of rap for a couple of years now, and now with the rap subjects of weed (High Rise, 5 On It), women (Ambigious, Almost Wrote You A Love Song, Crazy, Money & Sex), or in his case, just plain swagger-rapping, it's difficult to translate what Big Sean will make of these subjects in the longrun.

Yet, why do people complain about Big Sean doing the same thing his fellow contemporaries have done? Is it really a crime for someone to talk about the typical while presenting it in his own way? After all, that’s what rap has been doing for several years now, basing it’s ideas off other genres and other songs and people, it’s a lot. While Big Sean certainly doesn’t give us the fantastic replication of a tape, he provides a consistently entertaining tape that’ll have you rewinding lines for days and weeks to come. However, it’s interesting how Big Sean will use his punchlines and his pop-abilities to formulate the long awaited debut album. Ever so easily Vol. 3 could’ve become a album, and it would’ve sold, but it wasn’t. Is that Big Seans huge mistake or a great decision? Essentially, this is Big Sean’s best, most consistent tape yet, and it should not go unnoticed. There is work to be done though, but of course, for any artist there is work to be done. In Big Sean's case, the problem will be in making the album with his one-dimensional persona.