BWW Reviews: BIG SEAN's Sophomore Album, 'Hall of Fame'
'Hall of Fame', which dropped on Tuesday, August 27th, is the second studio album from hip hop recording artist Big Sean. Back in October, Big Sean released "Guap," the supposed first single from the sophomore album. With that release, the likelihood of having Hall of Fame be great were greatly diminished.
With it's Caribbean beat that did not fit Sean's flow at all and its mind-numbingly repetitive money talk, the song seemed to warn of the storied sophomore slump. But, rather than continuing with music in the vein of "Guap," Big Sean recognized the poor reception and went back to the drawing board.
It wasn't until April of this year that he released another single for the album, this time it was "Switch Up," featuring Common. In the 6 months between "Guap" and "Switch Up," something clicked. The new song sounded nothing like "Guap," and I'm glad to say that this maturation seems to have continued during the process of recording of Hall of Fame. While neither "Guap" nor "Switch Up" appears on the final tracklisting of the Standard Edition, they both appear as Deluxe Edition bonus tracks.
When Sean released Finally Famous in 2011, many of the tracks showed that Sean had promise, but I felt there was something intangible missing. It took a few times listening to Hall of Fame for me to understand what was missing from Finally Famous. Balance. In music, especially rap, balance is one of the most important things. If an album has too many mindless club tracks it becomes as painful to listen to as if it is too introspective. On Finally Famous, the club tracks and the introspective tracks were unbalanced because they didn't flow together well. However, Big Sean has fixed that problem. On Hall of Fame all tracks have a purpose. There is no sense that a certain song only exists because that certain type of track is needed. Let's take "MILF (featuring Nicki Minaj and Juicy J)" as an example.
Many mainstream rap albums from this summer feature a track with both Nicki and Juicy, and when I saw them on the tracklisting, I assumed it would be the obligatory ass-focused track. I could not have been more wrong. While the song is most certainly sex-focused, it is a comedic ode to MILFs. That is where Big Sean shines. He brings out the comedic nature in his collaborators. Yet, his lyrics can be equally inspirational. Unlike many albums, Hall of Fame never slows down and never loses steam. It is well paced and the second half of the album is as good as the first, which is unusual. This is most certainly, an album I would recommend checking out. Big Sean has now made me excited to see what's in store for his future.