Big Sean’s fifth solo album, ‘Detroit 2,’ debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this past week. The project, which is executive produced by Grammy-winning …
Rob Markman:
What's up everybody welcome to “For The
Record” I'm your host, Rob Markman. Okay.
After a long wait, we finally got it.
It's finally here. That's right.
Big Sean's 'Detroit 2' is here.
We all trying to figure out how to cope with
everything that's going on in the world.
So it came right on time.
All right, the album is hard, the album is
bar heavy.
The beats is banging and most importantly
it’s human.
Rob Markman:
We have to talk about it, man.
I got Big Sean.
I got Hit-boy right here, man.
What's up? Welcome to For The Record.
Big Sean:
What up, though?
I liked that intro.
I appreciate that.
Hit-Boy:
Great intro, man.
Rob Markman:
Y'all know my big brother is Sway, man.
I think Sway give the most legendary intros.
Big Sean:
Absolutely.
Rob Markman:
I try to learn from him.
Big Sean:
Yeah. No, I appreciate that though.
That was right on though.
How you feeling?
Rob Markman:
I'm feeling good, man.
I'm feeling optimistic, some days are better
than others.
Like, and I think we all going through it.
I feel optimistic, especially with this album.
I think what we just get dope hip hop music,
especially, it just do something to us.
I think as a people, as a generation.
Big Sean:
Man, I'm glad you feel like that about it.
That was the whole goal.
My whole goal of making the album was to give
people an album that they didn't know they needed.
But when they hear it, that they will be like,
"Damn, this is what I needed."
So that was my main intention.
I probably said that to Hit-Boy.
I've said that to a whole bunch of people
a lot of times.
I know I needed inspiration.
I needed encouragement, I needed to feel motivated.
So, I feel that's what I wanted to put in
the music too.
Rob Markman:
You know what, it is too man.
Because, I think you share your triumphs with
us.
Big Sean:
Mm-hmm.
Rob Markman:
You share, you definitely on this album, share
your low points with us.
Big Sean:
Absolutely.
Rob Markman:
But you never lose confidence.
Like you always sound super confident in who
you are, you know what I'm saying?
And what your goals are.
And I think that radiates and I think that's
central to the album.
So maybe I'm going to throw this one to Hit
because, okay.
So Sean talks about his intention, right?
Like when you kind of set things off, what
does that mean for you musically in your role
in this album?
How do you help bring that to life or craft
a sound around the vision that he's talking about?
Hit-Boy:
Yeah, It's crazy to think about all the heaviness
that's going on right now, but Sean was already
tapped in on this before the corona, the pandemic,
all that stuff popped off.
He was already just trying to address the
people, trying to make people feel great.
So for that to happen, it just … I felt
like intensified that feeling and made him
really dig into that bag.
To where like, when you hear this, you motivated,
but you don't feel like it's overbearing,
you can enjoy the music.
He just was real direct about how he wanted
to touch individuals.
Rob Markman:
Nah that's real and then, ‘Detroit 2.’
When did it occur to you Sean that this album
had to be ‘Detroit 2.’
Because, I caught wind of it on “Overtime.”
When you dropped “Overtime,” you was already
giving us like, hints when he was like, "Oh
I know your favorite one dawg.
I'm about to drop the sequel."
Big Sean:
Right.
Rob Markman:
It's just the preview.
Big Sean:
Yeah.
Rob Markman:
So already I start scratching my head like,
“yo, what is he up to?”
Big Sean:
Yeah, I just was feeling like … I feel from
the jump I'm making this new batch of music
which turned into the album, ‘Detroit 2.’
My intentions were always I want to make this
‘Detroit 2,’ but I know what that means
is, well, I knew the expectations.
I knew what it meant to me, not just from
that level, but of digging deep in myself
because I know when I was coming from a place
of pure passion, pure hunger, a place of discovery,
discovering myself when I made ‘Detroit
1.’
Big Sean:
So, I felt I was at a point in my life where
I was returning back to that in a new way
though.
I was expanding my bandwidth, you know what
I'm saying?
And figuring out how to return back to my
passion because I feel I lost it a little bit.
I felt I always wanted the desire to make
good music, but I felt it wasn't always there.
And I had to rediscover my hunger and definitely
Hit-Boy helped with that a lot.
Because, that's the most hungry person I've
ever worked with.
Big Sean:
He just back to back passionate about it.
Hit-Boy:
We was uplifting each other the whole time.
Every time he was calling me or pulling up.
That was giving me the confidence to really
just go deep as I can on the production side
and just you're a real particular specific
person.
So sometimes it'd be, we might do something
and it's crazy, whole room going crazy.
Then you wake up the next morning, like this
ain't it.
So stay in that mode of don't get too caught
up on one idea.
Just when it's flushed out though, it's going
to be right.
And everybody going to be happy.
And that's what the whole ‘Detroit 2' is.
Every idea was flushed out to max capacity.
Big Sean:
Max.
Hit-Boy:
We laying down bars, just, cooking up a quick
beat.
We were specific.
Big Sean:
Bro, it were songs we redid so many times
like a … First of all-
Hit-Boy:
I was ready to retire almost.
Big Sean:
That intro we did.
Hit made like three fire beats too, like three
or four beats to that.
And I know “Body Language,” I wrote five
different versions of that song and literally
like different verses different everything.
And even “The Baddest” with No ID, that
was like a song I had wrote a couple of times,
couldn't figure out.
So it was certain things that I just … That's
how I am.
I can't front on how I am.
I remember Hit was like, "You got to trust
me."
And I'm like, I trust you bro.
I'm just got to keep it real with myself.
Hit-Boy:
That's that go back to the thing that Rob
said about just it being human.
We kept it just real the whole time.
If he was feeling natural, he'd be like, "Man,
there's something about it.
It's just not hitting me the way I want it
to hit."
To me I'm like, bro, how can I get in your
mind to fucking understand this?
But we just kept flushing it out.
And so everything was just top tier
Rob Markman:
What kind of challenge was that for you, Hit?
I mean, because one, dawg your accolades and
your history speak for itself, it just is
what it is.
It's cemented but, I feel like this year has
been a super impactful year for you.
I mean you and Nas, did “King's Disease”
and I'm even hearing Nas in interviews talk
about how he draws inspiration from you or
how he might start with half an idea and not
think it's good, but you give Nas the confidence
to say, “nah, go with that, take that all
the way to the finish line.”
Hit-boy:
Obviously Sean is on “King's Disease.”
So it's a family thing, and just running off
that momentum, I'm already in the middle of
dedicating everything I got to ‘Detroit
2.’
So, when we's working on “King's Disease,”
I'm damn near just feeding off both.
It's like I'm putting my energy into both
of them as much as I can.
And it's just all feeding off each other man.
Big Sean:
I don't know how he did it.
I really don't know how Hit did that shit.
Because, I know how hard it is to focus on
one project.
So I don't know how he was able to do a whole
Nas classic album.
Rob Markman:
Yeah, It's hard.
Big Sean:
And then do … I feel like my best album
too.
I feel this is my best album so far.
Rob Markman:
We ain’t even talk about “Half-a-Mil”
with Dom Kennedy.
Big Sean:
Yeah, I know.
Hit-boy:
Dom on “Detroit 2” that’s all I'm saying.
It's all just a family connection.
It's all, everybody who just … I like how
you just said, keeping it human dawg, we all
just keep it A-1.
We all giving our most high thoughts to the
process.
When we making a song, damn, he heard the
beat, it was like, look, I got this four bar
hook idea, bold laid it.
Next thing you know, Sean, thought of hitting
bars was just crazy, the Uber, the dozen roses
and we just all feeding off each other, man,
that shit was just a beautiful process.
Rob Markman:
That's dope energy, Verzus as well.
I say all that say you've been having a busy
ass year though.
You might be the hardest working one outta
everybody this year.
Big Sean:
No, for real.
For real.
Rob Markman:
And then don't go unrecognized.
I want to acknowledge that.
You know what I mean?
Hit-Boy:
Appreciate that bro.
Rob Markman:
Another thing that I want to acknowledge,
Sean, I've been a fan of you for a long time,
man, since the mix tapes, and we've been fans
for you for well over a decade.
And it's always so interesting to me when
you get to learn new things about your favorite
artists, like how they grew up, not just who
you are now, but who you were back then.
So on “Lucky Me” man.
You go into and talk about being diagnosed
with heart disease at 19 and doctors want
to do surgeries and give you a pacemaker-
Big Sean:
Yes.
Rob Markman:
…getting a more natural prescription from
somebody holistic.
And it kinda just made me think that story
could have came out.
That's an amazing story.
What made now the right time for you to tell
that story?
Because you could have told us that anytime
within the 10 years for you to open up about
that.
Big Sean:
Man, what's crazy is when I was doing a lot
of work away from the music on myself.
And just thinking back to those times when
I was younger and I was just literally revisiting
that part of my life.
Like, there's this meditation I did, I was
telling Hit about, Oh, I hope this don't sound
weird, but I'm going to just keep it real.
I did this meditation where I would go back
to my younger self and I would go back to
my younger self and pay attention to how I
feel.
And then I would bring that back with me in
the present.
And after one of the times I did that, I thought
of that episode, at that moment in my life,
and I think I never talked about it before.
Because, I blocked it out.
Because, it was such a situation where I didn't
like it.
Big Sean:
I hated experiencing that.
I hated being in a hospital bed.
I remember passing out in the shower and split
my chin open and I was just bleeding everywhere
and I had to go get stitches.
And that's when I got my heart tested because
I couldn't even walk from one side of a room
to another side of the room without being
tired.
Big Sean:
Your heart's supposed to beat like that on
an electric current.
And my heart was beating like that.
So it was a syndrome, I forgot the exact name
or something like Brugada syndrome, kind of
reminded me of like a Bugatti or something
like that.
And they were basically saying that, yeah,
they had to put a pacemaker in my heart or
to have to cut the top of my heart open and
scar it.
So, the electric currents can run through
the scars.
But then my mom took me to a holistic doctor,
Dr. Brownstein.
That's still in Michigan, who's still doing
great.
And it's still one of my good friends too,
to this day.
And he gave me, he prescribed me magnesium
along with a couple other things, but what
magnesium does, it's just a natural way of
putting your body on its natural rhythm.
And it does so many other things too.
Like I still take it every night before I
go to sleep.
Because it helps me sleep too.
Big Sean:
So, that was just one of the lessons that
taught me that Western medicine isn't always
the answer.
Sometimes you got to go the holistic way and
Eastern medicine is really where it’s at
because it’s more particular.
A lot of times Western medicine will look
up your symptoms and be like, "Oh, you have
this."
As opposed to holistic, they really, really
dial into you as an individual.
And I think that makes a world of difference.
Rob Markman:
That's why I say too, that the album is right
on time.
And obviously that's a personal experience
that you didn't intend.
Right?
Big Sean:
Right.
Rob Markman:
But just take a line like that.
Right?
And I think in the time when people are thinking
to themselves, how can I be more healthy?
How can I be more health conscious with Covid?
We're just thinking of ways to be more sanitary,
just to keep ourselves from infection and
across the board, you might inspire somebody
to, you know what, I'm going to look into
some holistic options the next time I'm sick
or whatever.
Big Sean:
Absolutely, and I'm telling you, I haven't
been sick in, bro I’ve been stressing myself
out so much to like on and off.
And I ain't been sick in like at least a couple
of years now.
So, the precaution is the supplements, the
vitamins I take, the workouts I do, all that
stuff dawg.
It really, really pays off.
So I want to like get in deeper into that
another time because hopefully, people can
learn something from that.
Hit-Boy:
I can speak to that, bro.
Just this morning, somebody DM’d me a bottle
of magnesium, it was like, tell Sean I said,
thanks.
He was like, “man, I've been having heart
issues.
This already got me feeling better.”
Literally, this morning I got a DM.
Big Sean:
Wow.
Rob Markman:
That's real.
Like that speaks to the power of our music
and our culture.
Even somebody rest in peace, Nipsey Hussle,
“Dr. Sebi.
He be teaching health,” like even a line
like that will just force whether it be on
genius or wherever, right?
Will force people to look up Dr. Sebi.
Yeah, what was he about?
My favorite rapper’s talking about him.
I gotta look into that.
Oh, this what he was on.
Maybe there are other options for me.
Big Sean:
And that's why I mentioned Dr. Sebi too on
“Harder Than My Demons.”
Because it was obviously “Deep Reverence,”
it's an amazing song, but one of the things
I made a promise to for myself was to carry
on a message of Nipsey Hussle too as much
as I can.
The message of unification of black business,
of preaching health to our people.
So I kept that in mind as well, working on
songs like “Harder Than My Demons” or
“Lucky Me.”
For sure, Nip was in the back of my mind.
Because me and him are alike.
We had that in common, that was one of the
couple of things that me and him had in common
with each other.
We was trying to be healthier here and healthier
here.
Rob Markman:
Sean, do you remember, it made me think of
this listening to “Deep Reverence” and
I've been thinking about this day a lot of.
Before I was at Genius, I was at MTV.
Before, I was at MTV.
I was at XXL and we shot a Freshman cover.
That you were on, along with Nip was there
that day, among Freddie Gibbs, J. Cole, Wiz
Khalifa.
Big Sean:
J Cole missed his flight though.
Rob Markman:
He came mad late.
Yeah.
Big Sean:
He missed his flight and came late.
They had to photoshop him in.
Rob Markman:
Yup.
But do you remember … Was that the first
day that you met Nipsey or had you known Nipsey
prior to even that day?
Big Sean:
No.
I've known him prior to that.
So I met him in 2008 at Howard Homecoming
and that was the first time we linked up.
The first time I met him, we was in a corner
store and somebody was talking crazy.
I don't know if it was like a bum or something,
he said some wild disrespectful shit to Nip,
like something about blood, something like
blood and it held him up, choked them up real
quick and said “Sixties cuz.”
Rob Markman:
Did the TMZ cameras catch that too?
You know he had the line on “Deep Reverence.”
Big Sean:
It just showed the character he was.
He was about his, he not going to take no
disrespect.
And I admire that.
And why later that's when we first time we
met, He literally turned around and said,
"Oh, what's up?"
I'm like, Oh shit, that's great.
And we kicked it for a while.
Big Sean:
So, when we saw each other at the freshman
shoot.
I was happy to see my brother there fa sho,
he deserved it.
Rob Markman:
That was a dope day.
I tried to describe that day, just being in
the presence of that group of MCs and everyone
was special, at least that I was a part of,
but that one really held a special place.
I don't know if you remember, Kendrick was
there that day too.
Because Jay Rock was on the cover.
Big Sean:
Yeah, this is so crazy, bro.
I'm not going to lie.
I have a whole song about this whole day that-
Hit-Boy:
That's why I'm laughing.
Big Sean:
Yeah.
So I have a freestyle I did, that's dedicated
to this whole day where I'm just describing
a whole day … I hate to spill the beans
but yeah, it's something we did call “Freshmen
10” and it's really just me paying respect
to that day and XXL and you and everybody
who was there and just painting the picture
through my eyes.
Something I did for the fans.
Me and Hit-Boy both did.
Hit-Boy:
That's so funny.
When he's describing it, I'm like, damn he
just talking about the song right now.
Rob Markman:
But look, how would I know that I had no idea
about the song, but it's really just that
was the impact of that day.
Big Sean:
No, that day was crazy.
And I sent it to a few people on the cover
too.
I sent it to like Wiz.
I sent it to Cole.
I ended up talking to Cole on the phone for
like a couple of hours after I sent it too,
we just got into a deep conversation.
Because it just took us back to that day.
Rob Markman:
That’s dope.
Will we get that eventually?
Is that coming out eventually or are you just
going to vault it and tease it now?
Big Sean:
No, no, no.
I'm trying to actually put that out.
I mean, it's really what I've been getting
back to is just doing it for the fans.
From my heart.
So I'll put it out.
Ain't nothing holding us back from it.
I put it out ASAP.
Rob Markman:
Yeah.
I need that Hit-boy, man, we got to hold them
to it.
Big Sean:
It's like straight for my rap fans though,
straight for the spitters.
You know what I mean?
Rob Markman:
That's me dawg.
You talking right to me.
Hit-Boy:
I’m definitely pushing for that.
Big Sean:
I was about to put it on the album, but it
was just there were so many songs that were
supposed to make the album that it was just
getting too long at a point we had to like
hold some of the songs.
Rob Markman:
It's cool, man.
You can put it out whenever.
We ain't going nowhere.
Big Sean:
Right.
Rob Markman:
You had the line on there to directed at Kendrick
“After what happened with Nipsey.
I reached out to Kendrick.
Wasn't no real issues there to begin with.”
I remember hearing about the conversation.
It was around the time, it was right after
Dreamville Fest, right?
2019.
Big Sean:
Yeah.
Rob Markman:
What was that conversation like for you guys
to fix whatever misunderstandings?
Was it awkward?
Was it straight forward?
How were you able to cut through whatever
the noise was or the misconceptions and get
right to the heart of the matter and repair
that.
Big Sean:
It was very easy to do.
It wasn't like a hard thing or it wasn't awkward.
It felt like it was supposed to happen.
And it was just a mutual respect between me
and him.
And it felt right.
It felt mature.
It felt like we supposed to stick together.
We ain't supposed to even think about being
against each other.
It's niggas getting … Our brothers getting
killed, niggas getting shot, stabbed, choked.
So it's really only one enemy and it's not
us, it's not any of us.
We actually got to come together and show
a sense of community now more than ever.
So it was very easy and very refreshing.
You know what I'm saying?
Rob Markman:
Because look, man, the thing that happens
is … or, the question is when did you first
realize that there was actually a problem
or that there was something that needed to
be ironed out versus fans hear things, theorize
oh, this line was about so-and-so, that line
was about so-and-so.
But my question to you is how much of that
was real to you?
And then at what point did you be like, "Yo,
this is getting out of hand?"
Big Sean:
I can't remember exactly, but I just remember
sometimes being like, man, some people said
that he was talking to you at this thing where
he, without saying my name or vice versa.
I guess he heard that, “Oh, I heard that
Sean was talking about you,” even though
I didn't say no names and so it's, I don't
know.
It was he say, she say a lot of it.
And then when we talked, it was just like,
that's the direct contact that you need, because
people could pour gasoline on anything.
Rob Markman:
Right.
And then look, the other thing is hip hop
is competitive.
You know what I'm saying?
So how do you balance that?
You talk about this need or this yearning
to build community together.
Right?
Big Sean:
Mm-hmm.
Rob Markman:
And bring community together.
And not that you have anything to prove at
this point in your career.
Is there a conflict of you wanting to beat
your chest?
Because you know your caliber MC but still
embracing all of those around you.
Like basically, are you against kind of competitive
rap at this point?
Do you see yourself getting involved in those
types of things?
Big Sean:
No I ain't against that at all but that's
just-
Rob Markman:
The option’s still on the table.
Big Sean:
Well, no, It's not even…
Rob Markman:
Not with him, I'm talking about in general.
Big Sean:
Yeah.
Well in general, competitive.
I mean, it's cool.
It just is people get it confused with it
being more than that though.
I feel it's whatever you want to do.
It's no rules to it.
But for me personally, I just know where I'm
headed and I'm doing this out of purpose right
now, that's just where my head is.
It's not really a competitive thing because
competition is amazing.
Like I love watching the playoffs and shit,
right?
I love watching basketball.
But I feel like when niggas come off the court,
they homies.
Like whenever LeBron come off the court, him
and Carmelo, dappin’ each other up, hugging
each other.
So, that's just where I'm at.
I'm all about keeping it like, we in this
together.
But yeah, I'm not against nothing.
The only thing I'm against is when niggas
be hating on other people for trying to do
something productive with their life or trying
to do something positive with they life.
To me that's the, like, whack shit.
Rob Markman:
Hit, how do you navigate things like that?
And I'm not just talking about Sean or Kendrick,
because you have relationships with everybody.
And sometimes rappers go at each other, it
gets competitive.
Rob Markman:
You as a producer, like man, if any of them
ain't got a Hit-Boy beat, what are they doing?
A lot of times you could be in the middle.
Do you ever try to fix these things?
Or do you just kind of stay out of it?
Hit-boy:
It's not really my place to fix.
It’s moreso I just connect with who I connect
with.
So, if I got a relationship with a certain
artist and then somebody beefing with him
and they want to work too, I mean, I might
go to that artist, like, "Yo want to work?”
Nine times out of 10 they're not going to
give a shit anyway.
Because it's just music.
You know what I'm saying?
Hit-Boy:
So, I do try to keep it A-1, but for the most
part it's all love.
Big Sean:
I feel that's where it's at bro.
That's where the fuck is at.
Getting that money, that love.
Getting that motherfucking bread.
It ain't time for nothing else, bro.
We in a whole pandemic, whole recession.
Rob Markman:
How do you handle that Sean?
Because, on “Guard Your Heart,” you talk
about the conflict, right?
“Conflicted like being signed to Ye and
managed by Jay, conflicted like being cool
with Pusha and Drake.”
That's a hell of a middle to be in.
Those are four Titans that you mentioned,
how do you navigate through things like that?
Big Sean:
It's conflicting.
I mean, that's what I was saying.
I was just painting a picture of like my perspective
to people.
How I handle it is like none of my business
really though.
That's between them, it'll be people who beefing
who I done seen be, cliqued up before.
It's just sometimes you got to let them work
it out between themselves-
Hit-Boy:
Or they'll be beefing and then be cliqued
up again.
So, you never know what's really real out
here.
That's why you can't get too involved.
Just on some regular life shit and by just
getting too involved in other people business
period.
Big Sean:
Yeah.
That ain't even no man shit.
That's like some child shit.
You know what I mean?
Rob Markman:
Nah I hear you.
“Everything that's Missing” to me is like
super inspirational and when you talk about
the conflict, right?
Because we are in the music business, you
are a multi platinum artist.
Big Sean, aside from being an artist, is a
business, right?
You employ people, there's a dependence on
your success.
Big Sean:
Absolutely.
Rob Markman:
And then so you kind of rap about “shit,
expenses, get too expensive.
What you go and do what it takes to get the
digits, even do the dishes.
Because, you got to prove to the world how
you committed.
You got the whole city to inspire.
It's so cold in the D so through your eyes,
you on fire.
So through they eyes, you on fire.”
I fucked your whole shit up.
Big Sean:
Nah, That's cool.
Rob Markman:
But-
Big Sean:
Going platinum once like catching lightning in a bottle.
Rob Markman:
I don't hear this album and feel like you're
trying to sell me something.
Rob Markman:
I want to support that.
I want to buy it.
I actually put my money behind it.
Because the streams ain't enough, but it doesn't
feel like commercialism, doesn't feel like
you're chasing anything.
So how do you kind of balance that?
The business side of it versus the art, especially
on this one?
Big Sean:
I didn't think about the business that much
when making this album, I literally just gave
it all heart.
It just all like feeling.
The business people around me were like, “Hurry
up.
What the fuck? What's the single?
What's this? What's that?”
And I just was like I’m making this music
that I feel I need to make and that some people
could relate to, some people may need to hear.
And that was just my main goal for everything.
So to me, “Everything that's Missing”
… That sent me back to a point where I remember
just being in New York and being in LA before
I had a deal and trying to have these meetings
with people, not getting hit back.
Big Sean:
I for sure have felt like, “man, my prayers
gon’ get answered before these execs answer.”
So, I know that feeling.
I don't know a lot of people are feeling like
that currently.
And I just wanted to give them the faith to
keep going and pushing through because I know
they need that right now.
I be needing that.
And that's every time I meet somebody from
my city, like when I met Tee Grizzley, when
I met Sada, when I met everybody, Kash they
all have said in a way, in their own way man,
you showed us that it was real.
Big Sean:
You gave us that like, that inspiration, in
one way or another.
I'm not quoting them word for word, but they've
said things along those lines and that's amazing.
So whenever they win, I feel like I'm winning
in a way too.
Rob Markman:
What did it mean to be able to do “Friday
Night Cypher”?
Listen, that’s 11 MCs on that.
That's a big record.
You got to be a certain type of rap fan to
really appreciate.
That's not for anybody going through, they
rap phase.
You might not be able to get that one off
on TikTok.
You know what I'm saying?
Big Sean:
No.
Rob Markman:
You gotta really sit with that one.
Big Sean:
Right.
Rob Markman:
What was that like for you to put “Friday
Night Cypher” together?
Big Sean:
Tough.
First of all, I fuck with how Hit-Boy accepted
the challenge too of like, we gonna make this
happen.
Because it's a long shot as a concept.
It's like, man, I want to do this song that
got all these beats.
Because I used to do a radio show to Friday
Night Cypher in Detroit.
That's how I really got discovered by Ye.
Is getting, meeting him at that same radio
station.
So the show was a whole bunch of MCs will
battle rap each other, whoever won the battle,
gets to rap on the radio.
Right?
So the concept for me, that's how I got my
foot in the game.
So the concept was literally just to emulate
that.
And when I explained it to Hit-Boy, he like,
not only accepted the challenge, but thought
about the best ways to make it happen.
So, he flipped a lot of classic beats that,
we rapped on a lot of those original versions
during the cypher.
So it just gave it that nostalgic feel too,
with a new twist though.
Rob Markman:
The Clipse “Gridin,” “We Gonna Make
It.”
There's a couple of flips on there.
Hit, from your perspective, what was that
like?
Hit-Boy:
Just me seeing him, I work at the studio called
Chalice in Hollywood.
He rented out a room just to have that energy
literally in the building.
He had maybe 20 Detroit rappers.
It could've been more than that, but it was
a lot of just Detroit energy and I already
been rocking with Detroit wave.
I did a bunch of stuff on Tee Grizzley album
and me and Sean obviously been locked in,
but just me seeing that I'm like, this is
something that excites me.
That was one of the most exciting moments
of the album just having that energy and really
just feeling where his city was coming from.
Hit-Boy:
And for us to put it together and then get
the Em verse at the last minute.
That shit just came in together beautiful.
Rob Markman:
I salute y'all for that.
Because we're in the phase where most songs
these days aren't longer than two verses.
Because we're told that the attention spans
are not long.
So to get like that reminded me of coming
up, listening to underground radio in New
York, I feel like every … Sean what you're
describing, I feel like every city had their
version of that.
So, what happened in Detroit is relatable.
Big Sean:
Yeah.
And it was tough to put together too.
I'm not gonna lie.
It was like a headache.
Rob Markman:
What was the hardest part?
Big Sean:
Like the hardest part was just getting it
to flow right.
To me, it was like hearing it, at least 10,
12 different versions of the song, putting
it together, putting somebody verse here,
how to start it.
I always knew Tee Grizzley was the perfect
way to start it.
Because he was actually the first one to do
a verse to it too.
He started it off timing-
Hit-Boy:
There was other dope verses too, that you
had to cut.
I know that was excruciating.
Big Sean:
Oh my God.
Yeah.
Rob Markman:
Does it get political?
Do you get pressure?
Because, I know nothing is above the art for
you.
That you put the art above everything, but
I know you're a nice guy too and you obviously
created this song to create a platform for
your city and gave people the shot.
Big Sean:
Mm-hmm.
Rob Markman:
So I know if somebody had to get cut from
the song, it's no easy decision.
Big Sean:
No, I got a lot of hate from people.
I'm not going to lie.
I got a lot of like, everybody on the song
was very appreciative and I know Kash Doll.
I'm going to keep it real with you.
Some of the verses I just had to cut just
a little bit just to make it flow right.
And people, "Why'd you cut my verse?"
I didn't cut it because it was whack.
I had to cut it just because … I even cut
my verse down too, even though my verse is
longer, but I cut it down some, so, I did
it to make it fit right.
Big Sean:
Obviously the only verse I ain't cut was Em's
verse.
Because you just can't touch his vocals or
whatever he do is just, is what it is.
And he on that level.
Big Sean:
Yeah, he earned that.
So, it worked out great though.
I'm happy how it turned out and I'm happy
Em decided to like do that with everybody
and just, it's literally like a real quick
EP of Detroit music.
It like takes you through the different layers
of Detroit, all on one song real quick.
Rob Markman:
It definitely shows the depth.
How difficult was it or was it at all difficult
to get Em on board with the idea?
We had “Detroit Versus Everybody,” which
was a record of … I think that was a statement
record.
Like after that you saw the T-shirts, it really
became a thing.
And I feel like this is the continuation,
the natural progression of putting on for
y'all city.
Big Sean:
Actually, the T-shirts came before the song.
Rob Markman:
Oh, the T-shirts were before the song?
Big Sean:
Yeah.
The T-shirts were … It was like a movement
going on in Detroit before the song.
And I think Em just took it to a global, he
took it to a global level.
Rob Markman:
Was it tough to get him on board or did he
see the vision right away?
Big Sean:
Really, Paul Rosenberg helped a lot with that
and Royce.
Because when I sent it to Royce to get on,
Royce was like “You send it to Marshall?”
And I was like, “nah, I wasn’t trying
to bother him.”
Of course I want him on it, but I was thinking,
damn, Em too big for this.
To me, he's on top of that mountain.
So, he was like, "No, just holla at him."
So I reached out to Paul, hollered at Em and
then he was with it.
And I didn't even give him that much time
to do it neither.
So he knocked it out in a couple, a few days,
really.
Rob Markman:
I like the statement, man.
I liked that you gave that platform.
It was no secret.
Tee Grizzley had a lyric about Em on “No
Talking.”
And they since resolved that.
They said that was a misunderstanding, Royce,
Em, Tee Grizzley all talked together.
And that was an issue that was done and buried
way before this record.
And that was the last thing we had heard of
it.
What the first music to hear after that, even
the hit Tee Grizzley and Em on a record.
Big Sean:
I know.
Rob Markman:
Is a moment.
Big Sean:
It was big for my city, bro.
And it was a lot of people on there.
I ain't even gotta name it and go through
who had beef and that I was saying man, fuck
all this beef shit.
Who gonna win off of that?
Who wins from that?
All the does is paranoia, dividing abundance
and funds and opportunities, dividing fans,
stress.
Is just what the fuck is the point of that?
How about we all come together, get on this
song together, fuck all y'all beef that y'all
got.
And we just get this shit together and we'd
get money together, and have fun with it.
And that's what went on.
Rob Markman:
A couple more questions on the deep side of
things, man.
Again, Sean, as a fan, even here, some of
the things that you go through on this album
as a fan, it's like, “damn man, buddy was
going through that?”
Look, “I didn't think I had a thought of
suicide in me.
So life showed me all these different sides
of me.”
We look at you and not that money or success
is everything and it's all relative.
But we look at you, like you made it, somebody
that we aspire to be.
Were you able to pinpoint the exact root of
that feeling?
And then what was the work that you did to
overcome it?
Big Sean:
It was around the time I was moving into actually
the crib I'm in now and-
Rob Markman:
Slash crib?
Big Sean:
Yeah.
Rob Markman:
We heard the lyric.
Big Sean:
Yeah.
And I couldn't figure out why I was feeling
so bad.
Because it was a lot of great things going
on, but I just didn't feel good.
And to be honest, I felt broken inside.
I felt something wasn't working.
I couldn't figure it out and where I come
from a place where that mentality of “yo,
you got to go, you got to get it.
You got to stay on their necks, you got to
stay hot.”
And I had been going back to back, album,
album, project, collab project album, just
back to back.
And I guess I had burnt myself out.
I felt super depressed.
I felt like I had crazy anxiety.
I felt an overflow of just life being way
too hard to deal with.
Big Sean:
Every day was a struggle.
Even if I barely did anything.
So I knew something was wrong.
So I just cut off everything that I was doing,
everything … I lost a lot of money.
I lost a lot of opportunities.
The people I worked with as far as managers
and stuff, at first they didn't think it was
the right thing.
But then when they saw the condition, the
state I was in, they could tell I was broken.
They could tell like my spirit wasn't even
all the way there.
So I had to figure this shit out.
And I never experienced this bro.
Because look, my grandparents was in World
War II, my grandma and my granddad, right.
They were a loving family, but they didn't
show their emotions at all.
And that trickled down to me.
Big Sean:
I didn't really know how to be emotional.
And I had all these emotions and I didn't
know how to express it.
So when I started doing therapy, when I started
really strengthening spiritually myself, when
I started putting myself as my first priority
and enjoying life and realized that, I know
that the universe is you give what you get,
right?
And you get what you give.
So, if I'm feeling fucked up and I'm feeling
all these ways, depressed and anxiety and
like, I don't even want to live.
That's what I'm attracting to myself, right?
So I knew I had to change my shit.
And that's what I did.
It took time.
I just took time to myself.
And luckily I'm in a position where I can
afford that.
That's something my dad could never afford.
But he told me that after I went to therapy,
he went to therapy.
It inspired him to open up more and talk.
And I just took that time for myself and what
it did, dawg.
I rediscovered myself.
Because I didn't even … I got to a point
where I was just a machine, bro.
I didn't even know what I liked anymore.
I didn't even have no hobbies.
I was just fucking like in the studio and
that's it.
Big Sean:
So I realized that you got to put yourself
first because when you bring your best self
to the table, that's when everything else
turns out the best, you feel me.
So it was a crazy moment, but I definitely
felt broken and I still feel depression and
anxiety a lot, but I just know how to deal
with it a lot better now.
I know how to make it way less temporary.
And to choose to be happy and choose to get
to it as opposed to letting it bring me down.
Rob Markman:
Great.
Thank you for sharing and one of the reasons
I asked is because I think it's helpful for
people to hear that and it's no small thing
and it's work to get past it and then it's
work also to maintain happiness.
And I'm sure it's an ongoing thing.
So-
Big Sean:
I think we'll be doing that until we're dead.
I think we'll be old men.
Luckily, if we're lucky, we'll get to be old
men and still be figuring ourselves out.
But that's the journey of it.
I realized how to reward really is the journey.
It ain't nothing else, but the journey.
That's all life is.
Rob Markman:
Hit, I'd imagine that these recording sessions
are heavy.
In making this album, do you learn anything
about yourself as a producer and working with
Sean to work through these records and work
through these emotions and really turn them
into sounds like, what do you go through?
Because, I'm sure it's not another day at
the office.
Hit-Boy:
Like I said earlier, trying to get into the
mind of somebody who's on a level of Big Sean,
you got to have a lot of patience.
So really that's part, the main thing and
really practicing on being patient.
Because like I said, it was moments where
I'm like, “yo, you don't like this shit?
Bro, What the fuck?”
Hit-boy:
It's just a piece of music at the end of the
day, you can flip it, you can make it, turn
into something else or you could do a whole
completely new idea.
It's just ways to go about it.
And just not getting too caught up on one
idea because when you get to that end goal
and everybody happy, it feel even better versus
just me pushing my ideas on him.
Like, you got to do this, you got to do this.
He like, “okay, what if we do it this way?”
So it's all about just, I don't know, just
combining it and just making it, just sound
the simplest it can be.
Big Sean:
I'm not easy to work with.
I'm not that easy to work with for sure.
Hit-boy:
I'm not going to say, we have fun
Big Sean:
For sure.
For sure we did, but I can't for sure and
Hit too.
Hit’d speak up too, if something ain't right,
he’ll be like “hmmm”, even if it's good,
even if everybody in the room fuck with it,
Hit will be like, “Nah, there needs to be
something else.”
I will too, because my life depends on this.
I know and I wanted my whole thing about now
when I make music is, I want to make songs
and write songs that people will get tattooed.
I want to write tattoo lyrics.
Rob Markman:
But that’s been happening for you.
Big Sean:
Yeah.
Rob Markman:
I've seen, you've seen it.
People have Big Sean lyrics tattooed on them.
Big Sean:
Yeah, for sure.
And when I look back on my life when I'm with
my grandkids, I want them to hear this music
and it still relates to them and what they're
going through.
So that's why I was like, man, I can't really
focus on nothing too trendy.
I gotta focus on what really I'm going through,
like how I'm feeling, because I know that
they going to be relating to that when they
get in some ways when they going through this
part of their life.
Rob Markman:
That's real man.
And I commend you again.
I commend the both of you.
Because, like I said in the intro and I really
believe this.
This is a human album.
I listened to it.
I don't feel like-
Hit-boy:
Getting to the paper like it's human nature.
Rob Markman:
“Don Life” is my favorite joint.
The way just when you think you can't flip
Michael Jackson again, because you heard every
flip of MJ, I'm like, yo, this bump differently.
Big Sean:
Yeah.
It do.
Yeah.
And Wayne came on there.
I didn't even think that, I thought he was
going to flip a new cadence because I feel
I got a lot of those rhymes off in that cadence.
And he came through.
I don't know how he do that.
You're hearing your cadence or something and
do the exact same cadence and come up with
a whole new ideas that you didn't even think
of.
Rob Markman:
That's mix tape Wayne.
And if you think about it, right-
Big Sean:
I know it is.
He flips people's beats.
Rob Markman:
That’s years of “Show Me What You Got”
when he flipped the Jay shit.
And honestly, I'm going to get killed for
saying this, but I connected more when Wayne
did his rhymes over, “Show Me What You Got”
than Jay did.
Rob Markman:
He just took it to another level for the streets.
So that's the mix tape Wayne.
And I think that's a testament to you.
Because I think maybe, if he didn't think
your flow was … Like him hearing your verse
and then being like, well, how else are you
supposed to rhyme with this?
This is the way you got to rhyme with it.
He set the tone.
I'm just going to take the baton and go.
Big Sean:
Nah, the respect Wayne got for me.
Obviously to me, Wayne is like GOAT status.
But the respect he has for me is that he always
tells me.
He always speak up and he thinks I'm one of
the best too.
And I appreciate him for just riding for me
like that.
And he’ll speak up, he'll be vocal about
it too.
He even said it on songs.
I remember on “Dark Sky.”
He was just saying it on there.
So it's like Wayne, that's my brother for
real.
It's not like he making any money off of me.
I ain't signed to him.
I ain't his artist.
He ain't got to push me like that.
But he always does.
So I appreciate it.
And he just go crazy every time.
Rob Markman:
He definitely did.
Before I get y'all out of here, I got one
question that's a million dollar question.
Is for the culture, is for spans of generations.
Your grandmother going to appreciate this
question, your mom for the rest of our life.
Because I feel like y'all playing in our faces
now.
You had Stevie Wonder on the album.
Big Sean:
Right.
Rob Markman:
And Steveie Wonder talking about seeing a
piano for the first time.
And I’m just like, make it make sense, dawg!
I need you to make it make sense for me.
Big Sean:
Hey, he got … That's what I said.
When I posted the picture, I said he might
got more vision than all of us.
Because, he see things differently I guess.
But the thing is he was born blind.
So he never saw from his eyes, but I guess
he saw in a different way, because, I was
talking to him about The Clark Sisters movie
and he was like, "Yeah, I saw that movie.
It was good."
And I was like, okay.
And he saw it in a different way and I'm not,
this isn't, that's not funny.
Hit-boy:
That’s real though.
That’s wild.
Big Sean:
He clearly is the greatest of all time.
Stevie Wonder is the greatest.
We don't even deserve to sit in a room with
him.
He is the GOAT.
Rob Markman:
And he reached out to you.
Right?
Big Sean:
He reached out to me.
He's the greatest singer songwriter of all
time and more period.
And he's never seen anything, but his lyrics
are so descriptive that that's just a true
testament of his greatness.
But yeah, he reached out to me about some
whole different, about COVID that was hitting
hard in Detroit at the time.
Because Detroit was like the fourth largest
city that had COVID, but it's like 16 times
smaller than New York, 20 times smaller than
LA.
So it was weird that it had that many cases
and he was like, "How do we help out?"
And we did a lot of behind the scenes stuff
and through our foundations and charities.
But then I explained to him the music that
I was doing, the album I was working on and
he was like, "oh, I got to be a part of it."
Went to the studio with him towards the end
of the album.
Big Sean:
And he was like, "Yeah, I'll definitely do
a story for you.”
I was like, “That sounds amazing.”
“But let me hear some of the music."
I played on the album and he was loving it
bro.
And that to me was the most fulfilling part
of the album process.
Was playing it for him and him to be, after
he heard “Guard Your Heart,” he started
clapping a little bit.
This music is good.
And he gave me the vibe that he was down to
make music, too.
So that's something I didn't want to rush
though.
If that's going to happen, I wanted to make
sure it happens right.
So hopefully, that would be amazing to see.
Rob Markman:
We going to put that in the air for y'all
man, that will be absolutely astounding.
But man, I just want to thank the both of
you for one, creating the album, again, this
music means so much to us and there's more
than just entertainment.
It's really a way of life, it’s a way that
we communicate.
It's a Morse code in a lot of ways.
It's a way to get jewels and pass on information.
Big Sean:
Thank you, bro.
That means everything.
That was the whole goal.
Hit-Boy:
I appreciate Sean just letting me be a part.
Fa sho.
Rob Markman:
And you know, man, I wish y’all all the
success.
I don't know what the next level of this looks
like.
Obviously if you stream well and the plaques
and stuff like that, but whatever success
looks like to you, man, I hope y’all achieve
all of that man.
And I just appreciate y'all for coming through
to talk about it.
Big Sean:
Yes, thank you bro.
Yeah. I appreciate you for everything, dawg, over
the years, really caring about this.
You can't pay somebody to care about your
art and your work.
So when people like you who care about the
culture, who care about the music, care about
the story, care about the details, to me that
is something that money can't buy.
So I just appreciate you as a person, as a
brother.
And I got to tell you that I can give you
your roses because we've been losing people
left and right.
Big Sean:
And I don't know, hopefully I see you soon.
I'm counting on it, but I counted on seeing
Nipsey soon too.
And I counted on seeing Kobe soon too.
And him coming through and hearing the music.
I counted on all these people, Chadwick.
And it's just like, I don't know.
So, I got to say and to Hit too.
I love my brothers.
I appreciate y'all and let's keep supporting
each other dawg.
We all we got for real.
Rob Markman:
Absolutely man, I appreciate y’all brothers too.
Rob Markman:
And I appreciate all of y'all for watching.
Here is 'Detroit 2.'
This is a celebration of the music.
So I'm going to be in the comments, in the
YouTube comments, which all y'all can talk
about your favorite bars.
Mine is, “a hero in the hood, when they
dress like me, that's cosplay.”
I wanna hear y’all favorite lyrics, your
favorite songs, your favorite beats.
We just want to talk about the album.
It's a celebration.
Thank you all for watching Sean, Hit.
Thank you all for joining us, man.

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