Big Sean – Hall of Fame (Album Review)
An artist’s sophomore album is usually defined as their career making one and with Big Sean’s Hall of Fame, he proves that he is not just a commercial rapper, but an improved lyricist who is still learning to master his craft. There is no denying that during the year following his debut release of Finally Famous, Sean has accrued quite a list of accomplishments. From launching his clothing line Aura Gold, holding his own with plenty of charismatic verses on Cruel Summer, dropping a critically acclaimed Detroit mixtape, to dating the beautiful Naya Rivera, the 25 year old rapper is in nothing but a celebratory mood, yet still remains humble.
Opening with a set of violins and rowdy applause, the intro “Nothing is Stopping You” is as equally attention grabbing as it is motivational. Carrying the theme that hard work and dedication will reward you with the things you desire, Sean’s flow definitely reflects the self-satisfaction that fame has brought him. A theme and sound that smoothly transitions into the Key Wayne produced keys of the soulful lead single “Fire” and the Young Jeezy and Payroll assisted “It’s Time.” The track “10 2 10″ takes the listener on a walk down Sean’s memory lane and serves as the album’s autobiographical piece as he spits about life growing up in the city of Detroit.
Although there are some songs with more introspection, there are plenty of pop-oriented and clichéd tracks that make their way onto the effort. “Toyota Music” and “You Don’t Know” featuring Ellie Goulding serve as the more radio-friendly and light tracks. “Beware” finds an odd place on the catalog with the chorus assisted by rising-star Jhene Aiko and a quick verse from Lil Wayne and ‘M.I.L.F.’ is the album’s equivalent to “Dance (A$$),” and comes complete with an even raunchier verse from Young Money femcee Nicki Minaj. Even with the slightly generic tunes, the production and mixture of dope beats find a way to still make you enjoy the shallowness of many of these tracks.
Sean Anderson is not the greatest emcee in the game or the voice of the streets, but he definitely has the potential and drive to be. It is clear that Sean draws inspiration from his mentor Kanye West and, like Finally Famous, his flow is very reminiscent of early West with little less wit and more humility. With Hall of Fame he delivers a solid piece of material that carries a strong momentum that is unwavered by mild bumps in clichéd and generic territory. Bringing in production from No I.D. and enlisting features from Nas, Meek Mill, and 2 Chainz do much to strengthen the catalog but do not overpower his bravado.