Words About Music
Big Sean “Hall of Fame”
I’d like to make something clear. Not every artist signed to G.O.O.D. Music is actually that good, and Big Sean is probably the best example of that statement. Big Sean is a rapper from Santa Monica, and his 2011 debut album “Finally Famous” wasn’t as well received as one might expect an album from Kanye West’s label to be, and he hasn’t gotten much better since. So far his second album “Hall of Fame” seems to be getting some pretty good reviews, including an A- rating in Entertainment Weekly, but after listening to it I’m not exactly sure why.
“Hall of Fame” has a somewhat strong start. Songs like “Nothing Is Stopping You,” “Fire,” and “First Chain (feat. Nas and Kid Cudi)” are definite highlights, but those are all in the first half of the album. It never really gets much better than these tracks. There are some pretty bad songs on here, like “10 2 10” and the especially poor “MILF (feat. Nicki Minaj and Juicy J).” Big Sean is definitely having fun with these tracks, and a lot of them (even the bad ones) are very well produced and have some great hooks. It does kind of buy into some hip hop cliches, like mentioning the country Sierra Leone or including an explicit and fairly disgusting sex interlude. And don’t forget the weird “Greedy Ho’s” skit, that I’m not entirely sure is necessary.
If that weren’t enough, there are some pretty bad guest verses on here, too. Lil Wayne delivers a poor verse on “Beware,” but he’s been on a steady downward decline since 2009. Nicki Minaj also brings an awkwardly bizarre verse on “MILF” in which she tries to impersonate what I assume is a straight-outta-porn milf fantasy woman. I did enjoy the contributions from Nas, Kid Cudi, Young Jeezy, and Miguel, though. But the production and few decent guest verses are hardly saving graces for what is a less-than-decent album from someone I had hoped would be better.
I don’t think the main problem of “Hall of Fame” is the lyrics. There are tons of rappers I love that just spit ig’nant. But I feel like Big Sean is trying to bring some interesting or humorous lyrics and personality to an album that really just lacks in both of those things. Whatever it was that Kanye saw in Big Sean, I don’t think that he is showing that at all in this album or really anything he’s ever put out. I think Big Sean is capable of releasing an album that isn’t mediocre or unmemorable, but he definitely didn’t achieve that with his second album, which I’d call a sophomore slump if it weren’t just as poor as his first album.
SCORE – 2.9
FAVORITE TRACKS – Nothing Is Stopping You, Fire, First Chain (feat. Nas and Kid Cudi), World Ablaze (feat. James Fauntleroy), Ashley (feat. Miguel)