At the turn of 2014, and now spilling into 2015, there’s been this ‘new’ style of rap plaguing our radio waves. I’ve no idea if it has a name or a label assigned to it yet, but Rae Stremmurd, Migos, Big Sean and Drake all fall into the category. Particular features I assign to the genre include strained vocals, trap-style beats, yelps at the end of lines, a lot of ad-libs, bemoaning use of autotune, and a combination of Mike Will Made It, DJ Mustard, Boi-1Da or Vinylz behind the decks. When looking at the singles released from Dark Sky Paradise, it seems Big Sean would be continuing his pursuit of this style of rap too.
Boasting sales figures of over a million, the now-anthemic I Don’t Fuck With You was a huge promotional track for the release of Big Sean’s third studio album, much like Control did for Hall Of Fame. With Kanye West more heavily involved than in his sophomore, and with Big Sean obviously finding his place in music as of late, I had high expectations for Dark Sky Paradise.
Dark Sky Paradise is pretty good; frustrating in places, but exceeding expectations in others. The predictable productional values draped over near enough the entire face of rap at the moment once again rears its ugly head, but Sean often refuses to conform to the rap style expected, such as with Paradise. While the hook is annoying and the sloppy horn powered beat is dry and dated, once Sean picks his game up and raps with some real intensity (around the 2:20 mark) it shows what a talented rapper he is.
With the quality found on Paradise, it’s exceedingly frustrating that Big Sean insists on using the horrendous autotune-raping moans found on near enough every song on the album, particularly the intro/hook to Stay Down. But in almost the exact same way as on Paradise, by the end of Stay Down, Sean drops some of the most impressive bars he’s ever done. By the end of Dark Sky Paradise I was both impressed and at a loss, when a rapper has such a lyrical talent as Big Sean, why oh why must he insist on relying on predictable lazy production and seriously mediocre and berating hooks? While excellent in an array of places, Dark Sky Paradise also possesses an air of disappointment.
Verdict – WWW