Big Sean Interview w/ ComplexPosted: April 20, 2010
Complex: What did you grow up on as far as music and culture, and what was your childhood like?
Big Sean: Well, I’m from Detroit, and I grew up in the hood, man. The west side of Detroit, between 6th and 7th mile. It was straight hood, you know…drug dealers, people getting killed, all that. The thing was, at a young age, my mom and my grandma always tried to keep me out of the streets as much as they could, so they put me in a private school when I was super young. It was crazy, because I’d go to this private school where it was like a lot of rich kids, and a lot of different cultures like white, black, Asian, and then I’d go home every day to the ‘hood. It gave me a good sense of the world and great balance. I think that was one of the biggest influences because the private school I went to was a very artistic school. They made us write our own poetry, so we had to do a poem in the morning, the middle of the day, and before we left. We had to write it all ourselves, so that gave me a good love for poetry. Then I started getting into music when I was in the 7th grade. From there, that’s just where the music started. I was horrible at the time, of course. [Laughs.] My mom was having a hard time as far as jobs, and my grandpa had passed around that time, and that‘s when I really started getting into music emotionally.
Complex: How’d you come up with your name?
Big Sean: Well obviously, I’m not that big, physically. I’m just big where it counts man – I got a big heart! [Laughs.] Nah, I got it from my mentor when I was around that age [12, 13], I was super young, and in our neighborhood, there was this guy Sean Menifee who took a couple of kids in from our neighborhood. He was a guy who knew how to record music and made beats, so he was looking for kids to keep them out of trouble, keep them productive, and trying to find the big thing. Anybody who had talent. So I hooked up with him through a couple of my friends and we joined a group. His name was Sean, and my name was Sean. So he called me Big Sean, I called him Lil Sean, just to be an asshole and be funny, and it stuck with me. Notorious B.I.G. was one of my favorites. I started getting into hip-hop around the Bad Boy era. I’m 22, so that was one of the first hip-hop eras I really got into. Plus, everything I wanted to do was big. I feel like my music is big, the mark I’ma leave in this world is big, so I feel like that’s the perfect name.
This is a great in-depth interview! Click HERE to read about Big Sean talk about school, an alternative path he would take if he didn’t rap, Pharrell, his performance in Chicago and more!