You know Big Sean. The Detroit rapper was discovered by Kanye West in 2005 and later signed to his G.O.O.D Music label, before going on a tear in the 2010s with an oeuvre of top-shelf albums and guest features, collaborating with titans like Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne, and earning hip-hop heavyweight status with singles like “What U Doin?” and “Guap.” His latest record Detroit 2, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last month, is his most definitive ode to his hometown yet, not to mention his best work in years.
What you may not know, however, is how connected Big Sean is to the Great White North. Windsor, Ontario is just a 10-minute drive from Detroit, after all. Complex Canada’s Alex Narvaez recently caught up with the rapper to discuss his vulnerability while writing Detroit 2, his fond memories of taking day trips with his mom to Windsor, and his collaborations with Canucks like Boi-1da, Justin Bieber, and Wondagurl.
“I don’t know what it is, man. Y’all got something in that water over there. The producers and musicians are incredible.”
On his new track “Deep Reverence,” featuring Nispey Hussle:
“It was definitely an emotional song to do for so many reasons… There were a lot of songs that were hard for me to finish.
“If I don’t have a line that somebody wants tattooed [on themselves], I’m not doing my job.”
“He’s one of the masters at it… it’s a wonder that he’s stood the test of time. He’s made so many bangers… It’s an honour and a pleasure to work with him.
“We text, here and there, and he’ll text me new beats and packs and whatnot… We’ll just check in on each other.”
“[Wondagurl] is a beast. She’s a beast, dog. So talented. She came through to my crib, started cooking up ideas… You can tell she was meant to do this.”
On Murda Beatz:
“We’ve actually been in a couple times… There’s actually a couple of songs that we have done that haven’t come out yet.”
On Justin Bieber:
“I just saw the Beebs. He’s actually singing on the end of my song ‘Harder Than My Demons’… Me and him are super tight, that’s like my little brother. I’m proud of him because he’s been working on himself and developing himself, not just musically but as a person. All that stuff he’s been preaching, he’s for real about that.”
“There was a super holistic store there my mom used to go to… I used to perform at clubs there all the time. It’s crazy how different it is right over the water.
“Going there showed me how much diversity the world really had. Not just in people, but in frequencies. I fuck with Windsor, I like it a lot.”