[Dirty Mic] Big Sean Should Be In A Group

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.

  • adrianne robertson

    Thomas i absolutely love this article! You are absolutely correct! I love Big Sean’s My Last song, but i do not think that song would be doing so well without Chris Brown on it! And you are right i wouldnt buy this album lol, but its rare that i buy albums nowadays anyway because there is usually 1 breakout hit and the rest is garbage.

  • http://twitter.com/perusetheeCOOL amberlacy

    I agree with this article COMPLETELY! Since the constant delays of Finally Famous 3 and how lackluster it was once it released made me think so differently about Big Sean. I rocked his music heavily for about a good year before realizing he was a 23-year-old man discussing 16-year-old problems. His lyrics on hypebeast clothings and annoying adlibs just made him beyond commercial. Besides Cyhi, I think Big Sean is the weakest member in G.O.O.D. Music. The “mixtape album” theory is correct and if it wasn’t for the production credits, I wouldn’t have listened to the album. Dude has No ID as a producer and couldn’t give it any justice but a few features from artists no one gives a shit about! And Dance [A$$] is the best track on the album. That says alot SMH! Same for Wiz and his debut album.
    I also agree with the first point about new artists being put out to create for themselves. I’m hoping a J. Cole article is written about that, please.
    Dope write-up!

  • http://the9elements.com I.G.O.D.

    Great article, and even though I agree with you on his album, I don’t think he should be in a group. The group dynamic is just as hard as the solo dynamic in that you have to have differing personalities and chemistry. The LOX and Mobb Deep developed that chemistry that made them great. The only two that I could think of that made a seemless transition into a duo was Redman & Method Man.

    They only knew each other a few years, but drop music like they taught each other how to rhyme. My problem when Big Sean is totally in sync with you in that. Too many punchlines. He needs to tone that down and also stop rapping like everyone else. Dude’s talent is obvious and when he makes a great song, it’s like he makes it look easy, but those few and far in between.

    Also, G.O.O.D. Music is full of artists like this. The only saving grace CyHi may have is being from the South, and that card is starting to fade. Also, the same thing that’s said about Sean, can be said about Pusha T. Now, I think Pusha is most def a great emcee, but can he seriously carry an album with just coke rhymes? Ross and Jeezy do it, but the production helps them a lot, and Fear of God was just a good mixtape, and not the game changer that a lot of people anticipated.

    So, I do agree that Big Sean’s album was eh, but him being in a group wouldn’t do him much better IMO.

    • Thomas Agnew

      I was kind of mixing and profiling with Big Sean. I think he could one day be a dope artist. I like him BUT as you said his good songs are few and far in between. He’s learned how to make a song and the album makes it obvious. But he’s making the same shit we’ve heard over and over by people trying to push for sales and spins.

      • http://the9elements.com I.G.O.D.

        Yep! But like you already said, this was the album we expected from him. I guess the dissappointment, is that dude basically took the shit he did on his mixtapes, and just added more money to it. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and I said Big Sean won’t be relevant in 5 years.

  • http://realgoesright.wordpress.com Analyst

    Disagree. I actually thought Big Sean’s project was pretty decent for a debut album. He’s got some certified bangers on there, but his problem moreso lies with the generation of rap he comes from. All of them cats don’t really make proper “songs” since they aren’t really developed like that anymore. All of these new artists are around the same age and they all have the same problem, they do too much ‘rapping’ and not enough songwriting.

    Being an average lyricist and a great songwriter will make people overrate your skills on the mic (see: Kanye West, Drake). Far too many of these dudes take the whole “I don’t write my raps down” angle made popular by Big and Jay, and more famously but not as successful lyric wise, Lil Wayne, too seriously. And when you lack proper song structure, people tend to overdo it with punchlines (see: Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Cassidy, etc.)

    Big Sean is probably still coming into his own as a rapper. I actually enjoyed his Finally Famous mixtape series and felt that the FF album was actually a step up in terms of production and all around cohesiveness. But yeah, he overdoes it with the punchlines, which is obvious because some of them shits are super corny. I’ll wait til his his first mixtape after the album drops and what his sophomore album sounds like before I write him off. I’m sure he’s heard all these criticisms and could be possibly working to make himself a better more well rounded artist. Only time will tell.

    • Thomas Agnew

      Definitely agree on him probably still coming into his own as a rapper. Yeah a few tracks might bang but that doesn’t make a project. Of course the production is going to be there, he has the best around him. I’m not sure I can give him the “developed like that” excuse for him cause he was/is around people with great resumes of work. I hope his soph effort is more him and not just aiming for a few “certified bangers.”

  • T.A.S.K.

    I think whats important to note is that the abundance of different artists in the game is comparable to how the game was in the 90s. If you didnt like Nas, you had Outkast, if you didnt like Outkast you had Pac, Snoop, etc. I feel like every artist has their place in the game and their target audience. Obviously Big Sean’s appeal is HEAVILY felt amongst those who were born in ’92 and beyond. They all dress like him, love his radio records etc. The same with many of the most popular emerging rap acts. I feel like theres a disconnect between our generation and theirs. Sean did 87K first week right? I think thats an accomplishment in his own right and I respect him for it. Personally I havent heard Big Sean’s album, have not felt the urge to listen to it. Thats me recognizing that his music isnt appealing to me at the moment.

    I think we came from the era in our adolescence in early adulthood where there were only a HANDFUL of good artists so for the most part we all liked the same mainstream music and albums. If 87K people bought Sean’s album he’s apparently carved out a niche for himself and his music. Furthermore as a solo artist the label’s only concern is that he moves those albums, NOT that he makes a classic or even a good overall album. Drake didnt drop a classic, Wale didnt, Wiz didnt. They made commercially viable albums. With that being said I think Big Sean pulls his weight as his own solo artist. We may not be into it but many people definitely are.

  • Nygel

    This is Nygel, I understand your point but I think your argument is flawed.

  • Nygel

    Mobb Deep wasn’t “put together,” their solo’s came after they were known
    Now if you use Slaughter House as an example, yes you have a point.
    And what label would want to sign a group over a solo act. That’s more
    cuts of the pie and more headaches, it depends on the talent (ask Nelly).
    And the people have spoken up about the artist today. Look @ the #s, this
    Is the 1st year they’ve gone up. The last like seven yrs not so much
    (remember the saying is “Gold’s the new platinum?”). Wale went from selling
    28k is 1st week to eventually selling 200k+ records, that’s unheard of.
    Big Sean being in a group won’t change anything, it’s that’s artist’s responsibility
    To do his best, if he doesn’t the audience will move until they do something
    Worth paying attention to. A group will only expose the artist you don’t like
    Even more. And oh yeah no label “put” the Lox together, they where the
    Warlox before Puffy came.

    • Thomas Agnew

      For The LOX or Mobb Deep argument, I was stating they were better as a group and not solo artist. Solo artist are causing about the same amount as headaches these days. If a group had a problem more than likely they split and the best artist did his thing anyway. It’s more of a discussion of artist not putting out better work than it is Big Sean being in a group.