Album Review: Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise

Big Sean has been one of the biggest rappers (no pun intended) over the last 5 years, with his talent being shown on his ‘Detroit’ mixtape and on songs such as ‘Control’ and ‘All Me’. However, his albums have tended to be a let down and have been generally unpopular amongst fans of hip-hop. His 2011 debut album ‘Finally Famous’ was very generic and pop-like, whilst his 2013 sophomore release ‘Hall of Fame’ was also lacklustre. It seemed that he was destined to be one of those rappers who speak about making great, timeless albums and then, in reality,  made average, disposable ones (Tyga and Wale are the pioneers of this).

However he managed to break this curse with his latest album ‘Dark Sky Paradise’ which was released on February the 24th. The lead single ‘IDFWU’, where he basically disses his ex-fiancée Naya Rivera, has been immensely successful and has become his 5th platinum single. His follow up single ‘Blessings’, featuring fellow rappers Drake and Kanye West, became a fan favourite overnight, and is probably one of the most iconic songs of 2015 thus far. This song is also to blame for the millions of Tweets and Instagram captions now saying “Waaaay up I feel blessed”.

The rest of the album is surprisingly good… for a Big Sean album, that is. It covers a variety of topics: from motivational songs such as ‘One Man Can Change The World’, to songs about relationships such as ‘Play No Games’. He goes back to back with Kanye on one of the stand out records, ‘All Your Fault’, with this song proving once again that Sean can hold his own when rapping amongst some of the best.

Since its release, it has become the first number one album of his career, selling an impressive 173,000 units in its first week. It has also been received well by critics, earning 4/5 star ratings from Hip-Hop publications Complex and XXL, whilst being rated a 73/100 on Metacritic.

It’s important to not get carried away – this album isn’t exactly life-changing. Indeed, nor is it a modern classic like Kendrick’s ‘Good Kid Maad City’ or Kanye’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. But it is a good body of work and definitely his best do date which has helped to solidify his place as one of the best rappers of this generation.