Big Sean, “the G.O.O.D. Music rapper from the D”, (D standing from Detroit, Michigan) has consistently found himself pumping out great club songs since he signed to GOOD Music, but could never put together a solid and complete album. While his 2013 release Hall of Fame, was the closest he got to making a truly complete album, it still lacked true lyrical content – but was nonetheless, a large step forward from 2011’s Finally Famous. Dark Sky Paradise, released on February 24th, finally put Sean over the hump, with a good mix of introspective lyrics with personal appeal and the club bangers he has become known for.

From the first track, “Dark Sky,” Sean shows a maturity in his lyrics, putting his sexual punchlines on the back burner. Instead, Big Sean comes equipped with crafty one-liners and a quick flow, showcasing the potential we saw when he dropped “Control” in 2013.

“Blessings” features Drake, who already sent the Internet in musical limbo with his album release earlier this year, and is one of the first truly personal tracks that Sean delivers – the first of many Sean brings out on the album. With references to his mother and grandmother, as well as his current relationship with singer Ariana Grande, the track would be solid in itself just on that. However, he also references his highly controversial breakup with actress Naya Rivera as well, and she turns out to be a reoccurring factor on the album. The only qualm is that the track is not the same version that he released on his Soundcloud in late-January. That version also featured a Kanye West verse at the end, which was cut from the album version.

Sean and Kanye make it up to the fans with the very next track, “All Your Fault.” “All Your Fault” also features a Travis $cott hook, which covers the song sample of “How I Feel” by Ambrosia. The hook may be another reference to Sean’s relationship, as well as Kanye’s former relationship with model Amber Rose. Another interesting tidbit is the last verse on the song, which has Sean and “Yeezy” trading rap bars in a style reminiscent to that of Jay-Z and Kanye on their collaborative album Watch The Throne.

On the topic of collaborations, the album is heavy on them. In addition to Drake and Kanye, Big Sean brings in R&B singer Jhene Aiko for a very solid track titled “I Know,” with it’s trippy tones it reflects the message of getting over a relationship. Other collabs include “Deep” with rapper Lil’ Wayne, R&B jam “Play No Games” featuring Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign and feel-good track “One Man Can Change the World” featuring G.O.O.D. Music label mates Kanye and John Legend on piano. The last collaboration on the album is platinum lead single “IDFWU,” which features rapper E-40.

Originally released in late 2014 as a single along with “Paradise” and two other tracks, which did not make the album; “IDFWU” features a soulful beat transformed into a modern day club banger with a masterful back and forth transition by DJ Mustard. The song is very clearly about his former relationship with Riviera, which he initially denied, but later admitted to Complex. The song also has a verse that speaks briefly on his relationship with Grande at the end in an introspective manner, in addition to his thoughts about his relationship with Rivera.

“Paradise”, which is an extended version of the single and music video version released alongside “IDFWU,” provides some of his most intuitive bars on the album for two straight verses and with “wait, what” lines like, “I get that s–t accumulated never throwing money out I boomerang it,finally famous over everything thats a numerator,” Sean showed that he was not playing around.

It took Big Sean three tries to get it right, but as we can see here, three’s a charm and this album surely brings, among other things, charm. Since his initial “Finally Famous” mixtapes, fans have been waiting for Sean to show he can put it together. With this album he does, and it does not disappoint.

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