I noticed sonically, the production is way more complex than your first album. Were you a lot more hands on with this project?
Yeah, this was the first time where I was like an actual producer. I really played the role of a producer. I probably didn’t get the credit but I was up in there tweaking these songs just how I wanted them. I was sitting with the producers telling them how to play it, what to take out and what to put in.
So you were getting your Puff Daddy on?
[Laughs] I guess so. Next album I’m probably going to get even more into the production side of it. It was just me and my engineer sometimes, or me and No ID or me and Key Wane and I would sit with them and tell them exactly how I wanted the beat. I’m not taking anything away from the producers. I’m just saying I had a lot of input on the production side of things as well.
Do you think that is Kanye’s influence?
It must be, because when I get in the studio with other people you know like Wiz or French or other people they’re like, ‘Damn you really are into this.' That’s how songs like “Mercy” get taken to that level or any song on Hall of Fame.
I remember when “Mercy” came out and people were looking at you like a new rapper. They didn’t expect you to come so hard on that.
I just had the slow flow and added the “swerve.” Before the song came out, I was like, ‘Should I change my verse?’ I was thinking people are going to say 'Sean wasn’t rapping how 2 Chainz was spazzing on there.' That was the first time I realized that music is a puzzle, and sometimes when you’re a piece to that puzzle. Just make sure you fit.
Also, melody wise on this album, you’re way more melodic on songs like “World Ablaze”
“World Ablaze,” I’m singing on there… but I’m not about to drop an R&B album or anything.
Have you ever thought about at least recording a real R&B songs?
I wrote one R&B song called “London Bridge.” It’s pretty tight.
Is anyone ever going to hear that?
I played it for a couple people like Jhené Aiko and she loved it. I played it for No ID and he loved it. I was just straight up singing, and I was going to add a rap verse at the end. I did two verses where I was just singing. I can’t sing that well, but I can hold a note. I guess I can harmonize.
You should just drop it under a secret alias on Soundcloud with no photo. I mean just put it out there and see what the people say.
People are gonna know it’s me. But that’s an idea…
At your first listening in New York, Kanye said, ‘What Beyoncé is to R&B…Big Sean can be to rap.’ Do you remember him saying that?
I just think what he was saying was like… Kanye says great statements. He’s definitely awesome, man. I don’t think I’m the Beyoncé of rap. I’m the Big Sean of rap. I’ve contributed to some of the biggest rap songs and have some of the biggest rap songs over the last couple years.
You don’t talk about it a lot but in certain interviews you’ve mentioned that your father was there for you but he wasn’t around a lot when you were younger.
My dad, he was a flight attendant, and he managed flight attendants so he was there whenever he could be. There was some birthdays when he wasn’t there. My parents split up when I was younger but he would come around my mom and would always try to make their relationship work. They never hated each other, at least in front of me. For some years he would wake up earlier than he had to just to drive me to school and be there early just to have that time. I appreciate him for being a good dad. He taught me a lot about girls. He taught me about all the essentials.
When are you going to have kids of your own?
Shit. I don’t know… now, I’m about that age. Maybe sooner or later.
Do you want to get married first?
Yeah, I guess. It just all depends. In a perfect world, if it could work out like that, then that would be cool… to be married and have kids. If I had a kid I would take care of it and be a good dad. That’s when you really have to boss up. I would probably go even harder if that happened.
What about movies? I know you’re definitely on your music shit but would you ever consider acting?
Yeah, I’ve been called for a few auditions because they personally requested me, and I took acting classes. The main goal is for music, though. I'd just do [acting] for fun.
Nah man, go for it.
I might pop up in a movie. I’m a young Denzel. I did Shakespeare plays when I was younger, so I definitely can act. My mom was very much in to theater and was very dramatic. She was an awesome actress that just never got her break. She taught me a lot, so I know a little thing or two.
What would be your dream role in a movie?
The super hero would be cool because I’m into that shit. I’m into Marvel comics and DC comics, I know a lot about it on some nerd shit. I was really heavy into the video games, had the comics and the cards.
So I’m about to ask you a nerd question—if you could be one of the X-Men who would you be?
My favorite character was Nightcrawler. He was blue and ugly… I always liked his color scheme. I’d probably be Gambit, though. Gambit was cool as hell, and he could blow shit up. He could just touch shit and blow it up. That or Professor X. If I could be Professor X, walk and have sex at the same time. That superhero would be cool. [Laughs]
You ever thought about bringing back the super-duper flow?
Maybe, I’m about to start working on my third album. That may be something to think about since it’s calmed down a little bit. Every rapper was like… ‘And I’m smoking on green (grass) and I got the steering wheel in my hands (driving). [laughs] That’s how bad it was getting.
Are there any other rap trends or rap flows that you think is annoying?
You know what I think is hilarious? People just feel like you’re snapping when you rap fast. That’s like the biggest misconception I’ve ever experienced in rap music. But if you ain’t saying nothing then you just wasting time. I wish people would listen to the words more sometimes but whatever.
Last thing, and it’s kind of heavy but this conversation has been like that. What are some of things outside of music that you have to accomplish before you die?
I want to have a family, not only have a family but nurture them and be there for them and be a good dad. Two, I at least want to make $50 million before I die. I want to help be a part of the progression of Detroit before I die, in a major way. I want to leave a legacy, and I want to have something to leave for my family, my kids.