February 24, 2015


The 10 Best Parts of Big Sean's New Album 'Dark Sky Paradise'

Big Sean's third album, Dark Sky Paradise, dropped today. It's got appearances from DrakeKanye West (twice as a rapper, twice as producer), girlfriend Ariana Grande, and all the hot producers you could ever need. Like Sean's first two records, it's not perfect—probably not the kind of thing you'll play on repeat for weeks—but it is really good, with the Detroit star growing and enhancing his skill set in real time. 

Here are the 10 best parts of Dark Sky Paradise, arranged chronologically, followed by a Spotify stream so you can get in on the fun.

1. His wit.
Soundbites like "Hit the beat and kerosene it / Scratch that, I white sheet it" and "I guess it took 10 years for me to be an overnight success" keep us on our toes throughout every Big Sean song. Even when said song has a jarring variety of good and bad lines. One more, from the stellar "Outro," for funsies: "The bigger I get, the more I need shrinks." Amen, amigo.

2. Kanye's College Dropout side coming out on "All Your Fault."
Yeezy co-produced the track and sampled Ambrosia's 1978 soulful jam "How Much I Feel," and the results are lovely. Kanye doesn't out-and-out steal the song, but he does open his verse declaring "that's the new 'Ye."

3. When Drake says, "Be quiet, I'm doing a toast" on "Blessings."
There's your line for every wedding of 2015, friends.

4. When "I Don't F*ck With You" drops in as the fourth track and it's still as satisfying as it was in mid-2014.
Kanye West + DJ Mustard + Big Sean going full-tantrum 4ever.

5. The new verse at the end of 2014's other Big Sean banger, "Paradise."
So fast. So sharp. And included among the 200 MPH lines: 
Whatchu think I just started, n*gga? 
The blade just got sharpened, n*gga

6. The final seconds of "Win Some, Lose Some."
Nothing tops that feeling of that dull, saccharine song ending. Sorry, Sean Don!

7. The moment hip hop's Instagram references elevate to just saying "IG." (No relation to Iggy.)
Jay ZNickiDrake—nobody's been immune to referencing Instagram lately, generally with facepalm-worthy results. But here, on Sean's "Stay Down," we have: "The way that you post, I might have to IG ya." It's the best abbreviation since Schmidt said "double-tap some Insta-G's" on New Girl.

8. The Ricky Bobby reference on "Stay Down."
Will Ferrell is rap's favorite Saturday Night Live veteran, hands down. Drake and Kanye cameoed in Anchorman 2. Kanye sampled Blades of Glory on the world-dominating "N*ggas in Paris." Sean takes it forward with this quirky little nod. And remember: "if you don't chew Big Red, then f*ck you."

9. DJ Mustard's evolution on "I Know."
Even the "Mustard on the beat, ho" tag has been modified, not to mention Dijon McFarlane's signature style. Those low-end keys and the clappy percussion's still happening, but this is menacing in whole different way than the Mustard-helmed YG album My Krazy Life. We'll have to watch and see if one of the biggest producers of 2014 has a new vibe in mind for 2015.

10. The soul sample on "Outro"/everything about "Outro."
The track's got bits from Darondo's 1973 hit "Didn't I," and it's a fairly flawless closer, with Sean refusing to go into cruise control and instead revving it way, way up to keep spitting bars till the bitter end. Which, incidentally, boldly, happens to be:
Say I'm hard to get in contact with, oh, is that true?
But what about now? 313 515-8772
B*tch, call me

(Seriously, call him.)