Big Sean talks about his past, influences

By Takia Simpson

DeKALB | Big Sean claims NIU.

The G.O.O.D. Music and Def Jam Island recording artist successfully sold out NIU’s Convocation Center in five hours.

“I waited in line in the cold for four hours,” said Ashley Patterson, junior engineering major, who was one of many people who stood in line at the box office Saturday evening.

Although he was suffering from a cold, Sean was able to keep the crowd rocking during his hour long performance.

While backstage, Sean spoke to the Northern Star regarding his major influences, style and lyrical wittiness.

Northern Star: How is 2011 going for you so far?

Big Sean: Beautiful; 2011 is the sh*t [laughing]. It’s going really great.

NS: What are your favorite songs to perform?

BS: My favorite song to perform is between “Memories” and “‘What U Doing’… bulls***ting.”

NS: Where did you discover your lyrical abilities?

BS: From kindergarten to eighth grade, I went to a school that specializes in poetry. It was a private school. I grew up in the hood and would go to school where the rich people go. It was like a great perspective, because I had friends in the hood I would come home to and I had like best friends that were like white, Jewish and Indian and different colors. They lived completely different lives than I did. So, I got a bigger spectrum of Detroit than a lot of people.

Also, like I said, the school specialized in poetry and a lot of art so that really helped me out, too. So around the time I was 12 after the girls was like, “Yeah, I’m in love with Mase,” or “I love Puff Daddy,” I was like, “I rap too.”

NS: So what artist has had the biggest influence on you, and why?

BS: I can’t think of one artist that’s had the biggest influence on me, it’s probably like two or three. The biggest three were Eminem, Kanye [West] and Biggie Smalls.

NS: Why?

BS: Well, Biggie Smalls really laid the groundwork for metaphors, similes and fresh sh*t, even though all he really talked about was money, hoes and clothes. He told great stories, too. It was something about his flow that was just ridiculous, and I can’t explain it…that’s just who I love. And I love how he brought so much style to the game with Versace. That’s what I’m all about, I be rocking Versace. too. Eminem because he was just so f**king witty. You know what I’m saying? His lyrical ability was just incredible. It still is, but when he first came out it was just unbelievable.

I used to be obsessed with him, as far as how good he was. And Kanye, he just brought a whole new soul to rap… when he came out. Also, a new way of wittiness and then [being] clever and funny with your sh*t. Once I started listening to him is when I got more funny with my stuff. You can kind off hear patterns of each of these artist when I rap. I always try to keep it somewhat lyrical like Eminem; maybe not as lyrical, but I always try to keep a sense of lyricism. With Kanye I always try to keep a sense of witness, funniness and soul. And then with Biggie…just style.

NS: What do you believe distinguishes you from other artists?

BS: I don’t know, it’s just me being me. I got my own ad-libs. I got my own flow sometimes. You know? It’s just being a trendsetter, just being from Detroit. The sh*t I been through makes me unique, really.