Big Sean has discovered that in order to find the spotlight, sometimes you have to stay out of it.
The rapper was a brave soul putting lightning rod Miley Cyrus front-and-center in his recent Fire music video.
Then he released Control, featuring an explosively competitive verse from Kendrick Lamar that overshadowed his own and has become the talk of hip-hop. Both are leading up to his second album for Kanye West’s GOOD Music imprint.
Sean says licensing issues prevented him from including Control on Hall of Fame, released Tuesday, but he wanted the song out “for the betterment of the culture.” On the track, Lamar declares himself both “king of New York” and the West Coast, rapping that he wants to steal fans away from fellow rappers – including Sean.
“Kendrick, when he dropped the names, it was such a dramatic thing. I love it. … I haven’t seen a song this exciting in rap music in years, and that’s what it’s all about,” Sean said in an interview with the Associated Press.
The choice to highlight Cyrus in his video came from directors at DONDA, the company that West launched last year and has thus far focused on performance staging, album art and music videos.
“I wanted her to be a metaphor for people in general that made it through their own fire and came out strong and as beautiful as a rose,” Sean said.
Sean’s Hall of Fame features collaborations with Lil Wayne, Nas, Nicki Minaj and Miguel. It’s the follow-up to his 2011 debut, Already Famous.
Born in California and raised in Detroit, Sean Anderson, 25, launched his career by impressing West with a freestyle rap in a parking lot outside a Motor City radio station. Now like West, Sean is in a relationship — with Glee’s Naya Rivera.
“It’s definitely something new for me and her,” said Sean, who already collaborated with her on her song, Sorry. “I don’t look at her as my famous girlfriend, I look at her as my girlfriend.”
His new album also includes the apologetic and heartfelt Ashley addressing his ex, Ashley Marie.
“I played it for Naya, and she loved it, so I had nothing to worry about on that end.”