By Matthew Shircliffe–
From the feel-good tunes of “Finally Famous” to the darker, haunting ballads of “Hall of Fame,” Detroit emcee Big Sean has hit his stride with his third LP that hit stores last Tuesday, “Dark Sky Paradise.”
It was barely a month ago when Sean announced the album, and even though it was a short wait, the buzz has been incredible. With a star-studded list of features, ranging from the likes of Kanye West to PartyNextDoor, matched by superior production, it was nearly impossible for the album to fail.
Guided by the lead singles “Blessings” and “I Don’t F*ck With You,” bangers that deserve countless replays, Sean has sharpened his witty wordplay and storytelling ability that as is boastful as it is poetic.
What makes this album a success is Sean’s ability to throw together records that are diverse and ultimately challenging to the average hip-hop mind. Opening up with straight bars, “Skyscrapers (intro)” proves that this is going to be a harder project with no intention of slowing down.
The diversity Sean is able to construct with club bangers such as “Blessings” featuring Drake and “All Your Fault” with Kanye West is unparalleled. He is able to switch it up with more personal narratives such as “Platinum & Wood” and “One Man Can Change the World.” On “All Your Fault,” we’re graced with a “Watch the Throne”-like feel with the exchanging of bars between ‘Ye and Sean as it proves to be the hottest track on DSP.
The production was soulful as it was harsh as the sample came from Ambrosia on “How Much I Feel.” On a reprise of “Paradise,” Sean adds a verse and the rest was history. He exhausts all energy as he spits perhaps one of the top verses on the project.
Tracks such as “Stay Down,” a bromance record, where Sean shows off his singing ability as it pours out of his soul and at the same time demonstrates one of the better flows.
In “Deep” with Lil Wayne, we are shown glimpses that Wayne can still give us a good verse as he leisurely raps his way through this one and in the same measure is pleasing to the ears.
We are also given heartfelt and inspirational storytelling exemplified through “One Man Can Change the World,” arguably the best song on the album, where Sean opens up a more positive outlook, rapping about his family and appreciating life while Kanye and John Legend jump on the hook as Kanye is layered with auto-tune gives us a more emotional and optimistic hook.
In the deluxe portion of the album, we hit one of the better stretches. In “Deserve It” with PartyNextDoor, Sean proves how unique and utterly flawless his flow can be. With Party on the hook, this record is entertaining as it is profound.
“Research” with singer Ariana Grande, is the second song in the stretch, where one of the more catchier and light-hearted songs of the album, proves that the chemistry between the two meshes well as this anthem addresses the issue of jealousy in relationships that may be a nonfictional tale in reference to his time with Naya Rivera.
The final song on DSP is “Platinum & Wood” as mentioned earlier adds to the collection of Sean’s slower more thought provoking joints as it reaches a new high not just on this track but collectively the whole album.
Big Sean wins with Dark Sky Paradise. Despite critics condemning Sean prior to the album saying that he lost his artistic and creative ability, he soars through this album proving his worth among one of the top emcees in contemporary hip-hop.