Dark Sky Paradise

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Dark Sky Paradise
Big Sean - Dark Sky Paradise (Official Album Cover).png
Studio album by Big Sean
Released February 24, 2015 (2015-02-24)
Recorded 2014
Genre Hip hop
Length 49:57
Label
Producer
Big Sean chronology
Hall of Fame
(2013)
Dark Sky Paradise
(2015)
Twenty88
(2016)
Singles from Dark Sky Paradise
  1. "I Don't Fuck with You"
    Released: September 19, 2014
  2. "Paradise"
    Released: October 7, 2014
  3. "Blessings"
    Released: January 30, 2015
  4. "One Man Can Change the World"
    Released: June 19, 2015
  5. "Play No Games"
    Released: September 22, 2015

Dark Sky Paradise is the third studio album by American rapper Big Sean. It was released on February 24, 2015, by Def Jam Recordings and GOOD Music. The album features guest appearances from Drake, Kanye West, E-40, Chris Brown, Ty Dolla Sign, Jhené Aiko, Lil Wayne, John Legend, PartyNextDoor and Ariana Grande, while the production was handled by a variety of collaborators, including Kanye West, DJ Mustard, DJ Dahi and Key Wane, who also serves as the album's executive producer alongside Big Sean himself. The album was supported by five singles: "I Don't Fuck with You", "Paradise", "Blessings", "One Man Can Change the World" and "Play No Games".

Dark Sky Paradise received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the change in Sean's production and lyricism being more atmospheric and substance-filled. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 139,000 copies in its first week. In February 2016, the album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "I Don't Fuck with You" featuring E-40, was released on September 19, 2014.[1] The song's production was handled by DJ Mustard, Kanye West, Mike Free, DJ Dahi and Key Wane. It peaked at number one on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[2] and at number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[3] The song was certified quadruple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on May 30, 2017.[4]

The album's second single, "Paradise", was released on October 7, 2014.[5] The song was produced by Mike Will Made It. It peaked at number 99 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[3] The song was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on October 13, 2015.[6]

The album's third single, "Blessings" featuring Drake and Kanye West, was released on January 30, 2015.[7][8] The song was produced by Vinylz and Allen Ritter. It peaked at number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[3] The song was certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on December 17, 2015.[9]

"One Man Can Change the World" featuring Kanye West and John Legend, was sent to rhythmic contemporary radio on June 19, 2015, as the album's fourth single.[10] It peaked at number 82 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[3] The song was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on May 30, 2017.[11]

"Play No Games" featuring Chris Brown and Ty Dolla Sign, was sent to urban contemporary radio on September 22, 2015, as the album's fifth single.[12] It peaked at number 84 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[3] The song was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on February 15, 2016.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?6.4/10[14]
Metacritic72/100[15]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[16]
Billboard4/5 stars[17]
Complex4/5 stars[18]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[19]
Exclaim!7/10[20]
HipHopDX4.0/5[21]
Pitchfork7.1/10[22]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[23]
Spin6/10[24]
XXL4/5[25]

Dark Sky Paradise received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 72, based on 19 reviews.[15] In a review for Exclaim!, Samantha O'Connor noted that "stormier production and moodier lyricism replace Sean's predictable sunny wordplay and pop culture puns," further concluding that "Big Sean has reached a personal high by finding his Dark Sky Paradise, and it's his honesty that takes listeners there with him."[20] David Jeffries of AllMusic said, "Artistically, three is the charm Big Sean as Dark Sky Paradise is much more expansive than previous efforts, sometimes grinding with executive producer Kanye West's love of the dark, and other times bouncing with the snark, swagger, and style that propelled this Detroit rapper to the top."[16] John Kennedy of Billboard said, "With sterling wordplay and a consistent melancholy vibe, the Detroit native took all the tension, the highs and lows, and laid it out on wax, compiling the strongest project of his career."[17] Justin Charity of Complex said, "Occasionally clumsy but wonderfully plainspoken, and impassioned when he wants to be, Sean has advanced (if not graduated) from the tepid mythmaking of Hall of Fame. Here he's dynamic, and a pretty good rapper."[18] Eric Diep of HipHopDX said, "With Dark Sky Paradise, Big Sean is prepared to leave his mark."[21]

Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly said, "A spirited combination of grown-man statement-making and round-the-way bull."[19] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times said, "In the last year, he's made real strides toward lucidity, and on Dark Sky Paradise, his third and best album, he is more human than ever before."[26] Jordan Sargent of Pitchfork said, "Dark Sky Paradise is a big leap in the direction of the ideal Big Sean full-length."[22] Dan Rys of XXL said, "'One Man Can Change the World' in particular, which deals with the loss of his grandmother and his acceptance of her passing, really underlines what the entire work is about: dealing with the ups and downs in life and figuring out the best way to accept them and move forward. With Dark Sky Paradise, Big Sean has finally found that balance."[25] Michael Madden of Consequence of Sound said, "Mostly, though, Dark Sky Paradise is an ambitious tasteful album from a rapper who's often viewed as neither."[27] Dan Weiss of Spin said, "More of the same, really, and what same is that anyway? His beats, hooks and musicality tread slightly above water."[24] Christopher R. Weingarten of Rolling Stone stated, "His third and best record isn't that moment yet, but he's one step closer."[23]

Accolades[edit]

Critics from Billboard considered Dark Sky Paradise the 15th best album of the year,[28] and the 5th for hip-hop albums,[29] while HipHopDX listed it among their list of 25 best.[30]

Commercial performance[edit]

Dark Sky Paradise debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with 173,000 album-equivalent units and first-week sales of 139,000 copies in the United States, Big Sean's biggest sales week yet. It was Big Sean's first number one album on the chart.[31] On February 1, 2016, Dark Sky Paradise was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for combined sales, streaming and track-sales equivalent of one million units.[32]

Track listing[edit]

Dark Sky Paradise – Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Dark Sky (Skyscrapers)"
RobGotBeats2:58
2."Blessings" (featuring Drake)
4:12
3."All Your Fault" (featuring Kanye West)
3:44
4."I Don't Fuck with You" (featuring E-40)4:44
5."Play No Games" (featuring Chris Brown and Ty Dolla Sign)
  • Key Wane
  • Jay John Henry
3:36
6."Paradise (Extended)"Mike Will Made It3:35
7."Win Some, Lose Some"5:04
8."Stay Down"4:10
9."I Know" (featuring Jhené Aiko)
  • Anderson
  • McFarlane
  • Weir
  • Chilombo
  • DJ Mustard
  • Key Wane
5:20
10."Deep" (featuring Lil Wayne)
  • DJ Mustard
  • Key Wane
4:35
11."One Man Can Change the World" (featuring Kanye West and John Legend)
Johnson4:14
12."Outro"DJ Dahi3:43
Total length:49:57

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer
  • "All Your Fault" features additional vocals from Travis Scott
  • "Win Some, Lose Some" features additional vocals from Jhené Aiko
  • "Stay Down" features additional vocals from Kanye West
  • "I Know" features background vocals from Nicole Lequerica, Key Wane and DJ Dahi
  • "Deep" features background vocals from Nicole Lequerica and Key Wane
  • "One Man Can Change the World" features additional vocals from Natasha Bedingfield

Sample credits

  • "Blessings" contains replayed samples of the ringtone from One Missed Call.
  • "All Your Fault" contains a sample from "How Much I Feel", performed by Ambrosia.
  • "I Don't Fuck with You" contains elements from "Say You Love Me, One More Time", performed by D. J. Rogers.
  • "Play No Games" contains a sample from "Piece of My Love", performed by Guy.
  • "One Man Can Change the World" contains an interpolation from "Sanctified", performed by Rick Ross featuring Kanye West and Big Sean.
  • "Outro" contains elements from "Didn't I", performed by Darondo; and an interpolation from "Find a Way", performed by A Tribe Called Quest.
  • "Platinum and Wood" contains a sample from "Come Roll", performed by Blade Icewood.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[32] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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