Big Sean

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Big Sean
Big Sean in 2009
Background information
Birth name Sean Michael Leonard Anderson
Born (1988-03-25) March 25, 1988 (age 27)
Santa Monica, California, United States
Origin Detroit, Michigan, United States
Genres Hip hop
Years active 2003–present
Associated acts

Sean Michael Leonard Anderson (born March 25, 1988),[1] better known by his stage name Big Sean, is an American rapper from Detroit, Michigan. Big Sean signed with Kanye West's GOOD Music in 2007, Def Jam Recordings in 2008, and Roc Nation in 2014. After releasing a number of mixtapes, Sean released his debut album, Finally Famous, in 2011. He released his second studio album, Hall of Fame, on August 27, 2013, later following up with his third and most recent effort, Dark Sky Paradise, on February 24, 2015.

Life and career[edit]

1988–2003: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Anderson was born in Santa Monica, California but moved to Detroit when he was only 3 months old, where he was raised by his mother and grandmother.[2][3] He attended Detroit Waldorf School and graduated from Cass Technical High School with a 3.7 GPA.[4] Big Sean is often heard saying "west side" in his songs; he is referring to the west side of his hometown Detroit, Michigan. In his later years in high school, Sean gained a valuable relationship with Detroit hip-hop station WHTD; he would show his rhyming skills on a weekly basis as part of a rap battle contest held by the station.[5] In 2005, Kanye West was doing a radio interview at 102.7 FM. Hearing about this, Sean headed over to the station to meet West and perform some freestyle. Initially West was reluctant to hear him, however he gave Sean 16 bars to rap for him. According to Big Sean, West enjoyed his freestyle: "As we get to the entrance of the radio station ... we stopped in the middle of the doorway. He starts looking at me and bobbing his head,".[6] After the freestyle, Sean left West his demo tape. Two years later, West signed Big Sean to GOOD Music.

2007–2010: Mixtapes and internet following[edit]

On September 30, 2007, Big Sean released his first official mixtape Finally Famous: The Mixtape. His hit single, "Get'cha Some", produced by WrighTrax, attained media attention and led to articles in The Source and the Detroit Metro Times. He also recorded a music video for "Get'cha Some", which was directed by Hype Williams.[7] Sean released a second mixtape hosted by Mick Boogie on April 16, 2009, called UKNOWBIGSEAN. It featured the songs "Million Dollars", "Get'cha Some" and "Supa Dupa". This mixtape includes 30 tracks.[8] Sean released a third mixtape hosted by Don Cannon on August 31, 2010 called Finally Famous Vol. 3: BIG. Features include Bun B, Chip tha Ripper, Curren$y, SAYITAINTTONE, Tyga, Drake, Mike Posner, Suai, Chuck Inglish, Asher Roth, Dom Kennedy, Boldy James, and Chiddy Bang. The mixtape includes 20 tracks.[9]

An unauthorized leak of his collaboration with Drake, called "Made" made its way onto the internet on April 30, 2010. In an interview with on May 1, Big Sean expressed his disappointment over the leak, calling it an unfinished version both musically and verse wise. Big Sean's official Facebook page confirmed that his debut album Finally Famous & Consequence's Cons TV would be released on September 14, 2010. On August 31, Big Sean tweeted that the album was not coming out on that day, but it would be coming out sometime in 2011.[10]

2011–12: Finally Famous and mainstream success[edit]

In an interview on Conspiracy Worldwide Radio, Sean discussed the role Kanye West and No I.D. have had in the development of his first studio album's sonic direction as well as the challenges of being inside the studio with West. The album's lead single, "My Last", features vocals from Chris Brown and was produced by No I.D.[11] According to, Big Sean's Finally Famous was delayed by a week, with a tentative release date set for June 28. Big Sean has revealed the cover art for his G.O.O.D. Music debut and explained that the one-week pushback was to be blamed on sample and feature clearance issues.[12] The official tracklist was revealed on June 7.[13]

Finally Famous, Sean's debut studio album, was released June 28, 2011, and spawned three hit singles; "My Last", "Marvin & Chardonnay" and "Dance (A$$)". The album featured guest appearances from Lupe Fiasco, John Legend, Pharrell, Kanye West, Roscoe Dash, Wiz Khalifa, Chiddy Bang, Rick Ross, Pusha T and included production from No I.D., The Legendary Traxster, Andrew "Pop" Wansel, Xaphoon Jones and The Neptunes.[14][15][16][17] When the songs "O.T.T.R." and "Flowers" were leaked in July 2011, speculation began of a new mixtape. Sean confirmed in an interview June 28, 2011 that a collaborative mixtape between him and "two other guys in hip-hop that are just killing it right now" will be released "in a couple of weeks". Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y, were the suspected featured rappers on the mixtape.[18] However, Wiz Khalifa later confirmed that there would be no mixtape, claiming that the songs were created, "just for fun".

In September 2011, Big Sean confirmed in an interview with the Daily Tribune that he'll be working on his second album during the I Am Finally Famous Tour and plans to release the album sometime in 2012.[19] On October 19, 2011, Kanye West announced on his Twitter plans for a Spring 2012 GOOD Music album release.[20] On April 6, 2012, "Mercy", the lead single from the GOOD Music compilation album, Cruel Summer, was released.[21] The song, produced by newly signed in-house producer Lifted, features Big Sean along with Kanye West, Pusha T and southern rapper 2 Chainz.[22] Big Sean then announced his fourth mixtape would be titled "Detroit" and would serve as a lead-in to his second studio album.[20] He then began promoting the mixtape, releasing short versions of the songs on his YouTube page.

2012–present: Hall of Fame and Dark Sky Paradise[edit]

Big Sean pushed back the release date of his second studio album Hall of Fame, and was eventually released on for August 27, 2013. The album has skits to give it a "classic feel", and includes features from multiple artists, including Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Jhené Aiko, Juicy J, Young Jeezy, Kid Cudi, Miguel and Nas. The album's production was primarily handled by No I.D., and Key Wane along with additional production from Hit-Boy, Da Internz, Mike Dean, Travi$ Scott, Xaphoon Jones and Young Chop among others. Big Sean also stated in an interview that he was in the studio with fellow Detroit native Eminem. Sean went on to say they made a "Detroit classic" but he is unsure if it will be on Hall of Fame because of "timing issues".[23] Hall of Fame had spawned five singles, "Guap", "Switch Up" featuring Common, "Beware" featuring Jhené Aiko and Lil Wayne, "Fire", and "Ashley" featuring Miguel.

A month prior to the release of Hall of Fame, Big Sean told Complex that he had already begun work on his third album due to the inspiration from his new relationship.[24] On September 12, 2014 Big Sean announced that he had signed with Roc Nation. Later that same day he released four new songs titled, "I Don't Fuck with You", "Paradise", "4th Quarter" and "Jit/Juke". Producers for these songs include, Mike Will Made It, DJ Mustard, Kanye West, DJ Dahi, Nate Fox, Da Internz, L&F, and Key Wane.[25][26] "I Don't Fuck with You" was released to iTunes on September 19, 2014.[27] In an interview with Sway Calloway, Sean confirmed that Lil Wayne will be featured on the album.[28]

On January 25, 2015 various artists who worked on Big Sean's upcoming third studio album such as Kanye West, Ty Dolla Sign, DJ Mustard, Drake, Travi$ Scott and Ariana Grande posted the album cover to Twitter or Instagram.[29] The next day, Big Sean posted a trailer to his new album which revealed the album's release date as February 24, 2015.[30] The album, Dark Sky Paradise debuted atop the Billboard 200 making it his first No. 1 album.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Big Sean dated his high school girlfriend Ashley Marie from the time he was sixteen until their break-up in early 2013.[32] He subsequently began dating actress Naya Rivera, whom he first met over Twitter; their relationship became public in April 2013, though Big Sean told Complex that they had been dating for a while beforehand.[24] Big Sean and Rivera announced their engagement in October 2013, but ended the engagement in April 2014.[33][34] In October 2014, singer Ariana Grande confirmed she and Big Sean have been dating since August 2014. [35]

Style and clothing[edit]

In late October 2008, Big Sean was featured in The Source and headlined the "Style" section of the magazine.[36] In the article Sean talks about his own personal style and states that his favorite clothing brands are 10 Deep, Billionaire Boys Club, and Bape. Big Sean has posed in the Winter 2008 Billionaire Boys Club lookbook,[37] and is a consistent representative of Ti$A[38] clothing and hats, along with Chris Brown and Tyga. He also has an endorsement deal with Adidas through which he has released his own "Detroit Player" line of sneakers [39] and is a follower of the Rosewood clothing style.[40] Big Sean now has his own clothing company, Aura Gold, with styles that mainly represent Detroit[41]

Legal issues[edit]

On August 4, 2011, Big Sean was arrested for sexual assault at a concert in Lewiston, New York.[42] On October 26, 2011, Big Sean pled guilty to second degree unlawful imprisonment, and was fined $750. The charges of third-degree sexual abuse were dropped. Big Sean's attorney, Scott Leemon, stated that Big Sean "...did not engage in any type of sexual misconduct.”[43]


Main article: Big Sean discography


  • 2010 BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher (Kanye West, Pusha T, CyHi Da Prynce, Big Sean & Common)

Awards and recognition[edit]

BET Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2012 Big Sean Best Male Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
Best New Artist Won
"Marvin & Chardonnay" (with Kanye West and Roscoe Dash) Best Collaboration Nominated

Billboard Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2012 Big Sean Top New Artist Nominated
2013 "Mercy" (with Kanye West, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz) Top Rap Song Won

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 "Mercy" (with Kanye West, Pusha T and 2 Chainz) Best Rap Song Nominated
Best Rap Performance Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2011 "My Last" Best New Artist Nominated
2012 "Mercy" (with Kanye West, Pusha T and 2 Chainz) Best Hip-Hop Video Nominated

BET Hip Hop Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2011 Big Sean Rookie of the year Nominated
Finally Famous Album of the Year Nominated
"My Last" (with Chris Brown) Best Hip-Hop Video Nominated
Track of the Year Nominated
2012 "Mercy" (with Kanye West, Pusha T and 2 Chainz) Best Hip-Hop Video Nominated
Best Club Banger Nominated
Reese's Perfect Combo Award Won
Big Sean Made You Look Award Nominated
2013 "Detroit" Best Mixtape Won


  1. ^ Lacy, Eric (August 8, 2012). "Detroit rapper, Kanye West protege Big Sean admits first album was a flop". Advance Publications. Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ Jeffries, David. "Big Sean Biography". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Big Sean bio". Def Jam. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Big Sean biography". Music Industry Digital. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  5. ^ Ketchum, William E. III (August 20, 2008). "Son of the streets". Detroit Metro Times. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Kanye West Almost Walked Away From Latest Protege Big Sean". MTV. 2009-06-18. Archived from the original on 26 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  7. ^ "Wake N' Watch: Big Sean "Getcha Some" (Directed By Hype Williams)". Complex. July 24, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Mick | Boogie". 2013-08-18. Retrieved 2013-08-31. 
  9. ^ "The Signal". 2010-09-14. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "New Music: Big Sean f/ Chris Brown – ‘My Last’". Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  12. ^ "Big Sean Reveals Cover Art For "Finally Famous," Explains Delay | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. 2011-05-15. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  13. ^ Big Sean Finally Famous Tracklist. (2011-06-08). Retrieved on 2011-06-16.
  14. ^ "Exclusive Interview with Big Sean x Live in Toledo". 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  15. ^ "New Mixtape: Big Sean Finally Famous Vol. 3". Rap Radar. 2010-08-31. Archived from the original on 3 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  16. ^ "Big Sean". Retrieved 2013-08-31. 
  17. ^ "Big Sean brings the hip-hop — Western Herald". 2009-12-03. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  18. ^ Lane, Brian (July 20, 2011). "Wiz Khalifa x Curren$y x Big Sean mixtape on the way". Interview. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  19. ^ Horowitz, Steven J. (2011-09-09). "Big Sean Working With Producer Exile For Sophomore Album | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  20. ^ a b "Tweet 126770388121292800". Twitter. October 19, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Mercy (feat. Big Sean, Pusha T, 2 Chainz) - Single". iTunes. April 6, 2012. 
  22. ^ "G.O.O.D Music - Mercy". April 6, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  23. ^ Abbeylambertz, Kate (July 10, 2013). "Eminem, Big Sean Collaborated On Song Together In Detroit (VIDEO)". Retrieved 2013-08-31. 
  24. ^ a b "Big Sean Hall of Fame Interview". Complex. 2013-08-25. Retrieved 2013-08-31. 
  25. ^ Rani, Taj (September 12, 2014). "Big Sean Drops Four New Songs". BET. 
  26. ^ "New Music: Big Sean - 'IDFWU' + ‘Paradise’ + ’4th Quarter’ + ‘Jit/Juke’". Rap-Up. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  27. ^ "I Don't F**k With You (feat. E-40) – Single". iTunes Store. Apple. September 19, 2014. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Big Sean And All His Friends Announce New Album, Dark Sky Paradise". MTV. January 26, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ Caulfield, Keith (March 4, 2015). "Big Sean Scores His First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200". Billboard. 
  32. ^ Ramos, Dorkys (August 15, 2013). "Big Sean on Ex-Girlfriend Ashley: "I Got Love for Her"". BET. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  33. ^ Nessif, Bruna (October 3, 2013). "Naya Rivera and Big Sean Are Engaged!". E Online. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  34. ^ Lee, Esther (April 9, 2014). "Naya Rivera, Big Sean's Engagement Is Off; Rapper Releases Statement". Us Weekly. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  35. ^ Parrish, Charlie (17 October 2014). "Ariana Grande confirms her relationship with Big Sean for the first time". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  36. ^ [2][dead link]
  37. ^ "Billionaire Boys Club". Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  38. ^ "Ti$A Online Shop — Home". Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  39. ^ Eric Lacy (2012-12-01). "Big Sean's Michigan release of Adidas 'Detroit Player' excites sneakerheads on Twitter, Instagram". Retrieved 2013-08-31. 
  40. ^ [3][dead link]
  41. ^
  42. ^  . "Rapper 'Big Sean' faces charge after concert - YNN, Your News Now". Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  43. ^ Pfeiffer, Rick. "Rapper Big Sean takes plea deal in Lewiston court » Local News". Niagara Gazette. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 

External links[edit]