The Big Come Up is the debut album by the American rock duo The Black Keys, released in 2002 on Alive Records. The blues-rock duo includes singer and guitarist, Dan Auerbach, and drummer, Patrick Carney. The album was created in Akron, Ohio, also known as the Rubber City. As the two began to grow up, they realized that rubber companies, such as Goodyear, were a dying industry. They knew they were not guaranteed an automatic job by achieving a college degree, so the two dropped out of college to pursue their musical career. They began producing "The Big Come Up" in their basement. Carney and Auerbach recorded the album in Carney's basement, using two microphones bought off of eBay. They recorded their album on an 8-track tape recorder because there was no longer a need for a needle, it did not break or shatter, and it could be played in the car. The cheap equipment gave the album a grainy, lo-fi sound, almost as if it had been recorded in the 1960s. This made their album sound unprofessional, but in turn, gave them a sense of authenticity that was largely based on other popular rock artists, such as The White Stripes. The record contained thirteen songs. Eight of them were their own original tracks, and five were cover songs. These cover songs included covers of Muddy Waters, Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside. They also released an EP that included covers of the blues song "Leaving' Trunk" and the Beatles' song "She Said, She Said".
The song "I'll Be Your Man" was used as the theme song for the HBO series Hung. "I'll Be Your Man" also appeared on the FX series Rescue Me. Alive Records re-presses this album regularly, often several times a year on different coloured vinyl or with altered sleeve artwork. These are usually marketed as limited editions., Alive Records had released The Big Come Up on vinyl on at least 14 separate occasions, opening themselves up to criticism, particularly in regard to the marketing term "limited edition".
"240 Years Before Your Time" becomes silent at about 1:39 into the track on the CD version. This silence lasts until 21:41.
According to Nielsen Soundscan, the album only sold around 139,000 copies. The two did not make much money off of the album, so they had trouble paying for a tour. Therefore, they raised money by mowing lawns for their landlord. Although the album sold poorly, it gained a cult following and attracted critics. In 2005 music critic Chuck Klosterman singled out The Big Come Up as one of 21 "high-quality albums" from the previous three years. As the two blues-rock singers began to gain attention, they caught the eye of American Independent record label, Fat Possum Records. Fat Possum Records quietly released blues music that drew inspiration from the gritty country blues guitar rhythms and from artists like Junior Kimbrough, one of Carney and Auerbach's leading inspirations.