Big Sean Should Be In A Group
by Thomas Agnew
In a time when there is an over abundant amount of artists in the industry, we are pounded weekly with new works from artists, indie to major, who are trying to make their mark in music history. Thus as fans we have to listen to subpar material created by artists who think they need to continually release projects to avoid getting lost in the sauce. And these days instead of working on developing artists or groups, labels pressure musicians to learn on their own, hoping they develop enough to create a breakout hit. Now I’m sure after a few sentences you’re wondering what this has to do with Big Sean. Relax, we’ll get there really soon.
In our short lives we have seen many individual artists shoot to stardom after creating well-crafted albums that made us nod our heads crazily, make a face in good disgust (see Jay-Z in Fade To Black), and damn near fall out our chairs. And whether we’d like to admit it or not, those times have come to pass. Since the boost of YouTube phenomenons and blog hype beasts, all types of internet individuals think “well shit if they can do it, I can do it.” Wrong. These days the internets are spewing out artists daily that lack the full capability to make full albums, let alone full mixtapes that are enjoyable.
Recently, while sitting with my homies, we checked out Big Sean’s Finally Famous: The Album, and to my half excitement it came out to be what I thought it would be… just alright. Sure there were good songs, but him by himself making a full album, no way I could sit and listen to it all the way through. I think he sold himself short of what he could have accomplished with this album. Almost all of the songs sounded like he tried too hard to make them work, almost as if they weren’t really coming from him. It’s obvious he has talent. With “Supa Dupa” he created a style that Young Money stole and ran with for damn near two years. This brings me to why he should be in a group.
In the past when an artist wasn’t strong enough to hold his own, he was paired with one or two individuals with similar qualities and different personalities to create a damn good group. Labels knew, “Why waste money on this subpar artist when we can make a dope group that could be pushed and make more money and more impact?” While we all enjoy good punchlines, who wants to hear that for 14-18 songs straight? While I enjoyed “Glenwood” or “You” or “Million Dollars,” Big Sean continues to release the same material, same subpar projects. I felt like I’ve listened to the same project 4 times over with better beats. Not to use Sean as a punching bag—the same could be said for Ace Hood, CyHi, Wale, Stalley, hell even Curren$y (who just so happened to be in a newly created group with Sean and Wiz). Let it be known I’m not saying they suck or make bad music, but admit it, have you bought any of their solo projects? Any songs off iTunes? Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Let’s look at a few groups for proper examples. First example, which was the hardest for me to use, is The LOX – one of my all-time favorite groups. Their chemistry and varying personalities/styles were perfect. Jadakiss’ witty punchlines, Styles’ gritty street sense, and Sheek’s arrogant, don’t give a fuck attitude made this group a problem. Separately? Not so much. Jadakiss being the most successful still didn’t make the impact many thought he would as a solo artist. Styles P and Sheek put out independent projects, but are widely looked over. Many would have rather heard more group projects from The LOX rather than solo effort after effort being poorly promoted and basically unheard.
The second case would be Mobb Deep. This might get me in trouble but this is my article. Mobb Deep will go down as one of thee best to do it. Havoc and P were the perfect pair. In the early days, Prodigy killed tracks produced by fellow MC and producer Havoc (along with Alchemist) and classics we’re made. They played their roles well. Havoc knew he wasn’t a better wordsmith than Prodigy nor did he attempt to overpower him on any tracks, but he showed up on production every time. Prodigy put out HNIC Part 1, which was a great album. But outside of that, if you weren’t a hardcore Mobb Deep fan you would have missed Havoc’s 2 mixtapes and 2 albums, or Prodigy’s 2 mixtapes and 3 additional solo albums.
You finally catching the hint? People were put into groups for a reason. Power in numbers and higher success rates with fans.
Why should we as fans keep suffering by listening to these half assed projects because artists don’t take time to make better music, or learn the craft better? I say more artists should be in groups making group albums or compilations until they can learn how to make fully developed projects. Stop releasing the bullshit. Stop dropping mixtapes because you can’t make a good album. How about you make an album and let people listen to it and if it sucks, trash it. Don’t release it. Big Sean has been under Kanye for 3 years and this is his debut album? I’m not expecting Kanye numbers because he’s way more talented, but damn. That’s what you’ve got to offer? A mixtape album?
If these are the artists we think will carry the torch and make classic albums in the future, we might as well call it a wrap for good hip hop. We give these artists the benefit of the doubt because people confuse buzz/press with talent, but that’s a whole nother topic that needs to be touched. At the end of the day, we as fans need to hold these artists to a higher standard and these artists need to care for their careers way more than just getting signed and dropping a drink coaster.