It has been a little over a year since we’ve gotten a full length project from Big Sean, and now he is back and better than ever. However, much like on previous albums, Sean relies heavily on feature artists to help him through a pretty lengthy LP. Dark Sky Paradise has its highs and lows–all showcasing Sean’s growth as an artist–but it just isn’t everything his fans had hoped for.
Without a doubt, the song that really put Sean back into the mainstream spotlight was “I Don’t Fuck With You,” with a little help from E-40. The song, with all of it’s raunchy language, is an extremely catchy anthem to everyone’s ex. It came out last fall, along with the other 3 songs Big Sean dropped, and the only other one from that selection that made the cut for the album was the extended version of “Paradise”. Honestly, I was extremely surprised by how popular the song became, even before the album. I was also suprised by how the song really put Big Sean back on everyone’s radar. I can’t discredit the track at all because I still catch myself reciting the hook randomly throughout the day. This was just the first taste of what was to come from Big Sean in the long run.
The intro of the album, “Dark Sky (Skyscrapers)” is nothing out of the ordinary in terms of lyrical content but he does have a nice flow. “Blessings” with Drake is the same song we heard released a few weeks back, and this track has grown on me as well. However, it just isn’t the Big Sean/Drake collaboration that I was expecting. It isn’t until “All Your Fault” comes on that we really get the vibe of this album. Kanye West adds both a verse and production on this one that almost sounds like something that could have been included on My Dark And Twisted Fantasy. This is the one song I keep coming back to because of the back and forth between Ye and Sean that reminds me of 80’s hip-hop. The line that resonates the most is the last one, “Man, If you want the crown bitch, you gotta take it”. Sean is definitely coming for something.
The highs and lows of the album become apparent as the album stomps on. “Play No Games” is a slowed down jam that has Sean talking about what it seems like in his current relationship. Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign provide some vocals for the track, keeping it catchy enough to continually coming back to. “Paradise” is the same song we’ve heard before, until the amazing second verse comes on. Sean absolutely snaps while rapping about his come up and work ethic. He hands-down demolishes this song and I hope no other rapper ever even attempts to hop on the beat.
The next three songs are the valley of the album for me. “Win Some, Lose Some,” “Stay Down,” and “I Know” are all slower, more introspective songs into what Sean went through these past few years. Yes, these songs are where the artist is able to put his feelings out there, and while they fit the album well, there just isn’t that one hook or one beat out of these three songs that really stands out. The last three bonus tracks could have easily been placed where these three are, and they likely would have shaped the album much better.
Getting towards the end of the album, Sean really starts to stand out even when being assisted. “Deep” has Lil’ Wayne spazzing out on the track in almost mixtape-Weezy fashion. “One Man Can Change The World” is Dark Sky Paradise’s “Nothing Is Stopping You”, with the feel-good, you-got-it-dude type song that we have heard come from Big Sean time and time again. Kanye and John Legend really fill the song out with their features. Then we hit the “Outro,” by far one of my favorite songs on the album. The DJ Dahi produced cut incorporates an amazing bounce-like soul sample, while Big Sean gets so confident about not only his ability to rap, but to charm women, that he adds his phone number at the end. It was almost a perfect ending to an album that has an artist making a statement.
Even though it may not be a perfect album, and not a project where we find Big Sean really blowing things musically out of the water, the high points outshine the lows. The bonus tracks at the end are absolutely great and I think “Deserve It” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR should have been on the album. Don’t miss out! Check out the album below, and let us know what you think in the comment section.
Written by E.L.