Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Big Sean goes all in with Dark Sky Paradise, reaches number one

3.5/5 Stars

Big Sean has finally released his first number one album, despite the successes of his past two albums, “Hall of Fame” and “Finally Famous”.

“Dark Sky Paradise” was released on Feb. 24 after much promotion for the album via numerous of hit singles such as the radio favorite “IDFWU”, the Drake collaboration (and Kanye West on the extended version) “Blessings”, and the Mike Will Made It produced track “Paradise”.

The album was also heavily promoted during Grammy weekend as Sean held a concert at The House of Blues Hollywood with DJ Mustard, an event that featured an array of special guests such as Kanye West, J.Cole, YG, Meek Mill, and more.

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“Dark Sky Paradise” debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 within the first week of its release, selling more than 173,000 copies just a week after Drake’s critically acclaimed mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” dropped.

Sean brings a much new revamped sound to the table with “Dark Sky Paradise” as he collaborates with big time radio-hit producers DJ Mustard and Mike Will Made It, creating catchy, poppy and energetic songs.

Sean also collaborates with longtime friend and mentor, Kanye West, who executively produced the album with Sean and is featured on two tracks.

Among guest features, “Dark Sky Paradise” brings an all-star cast ranging from Drake, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, PartyNextDoor, and girlfriend Ariana Grande.

The album begins with the honest and sincere opening statement track, “Dark Sky (Skyscrapers)”, in which Sean raps about how glad he is to have made it big out of a hardship in the crime ridden city of Detroit and being proud of his long awaited success that has made him “finally famous”.

Sean first met Kanye West back in 2005, who then signed him to his G.O.O.D. Music label in 2007.

“And then they say it happened for me overnight, s***, yeah I guess/I guess it took ten years for me to be an overnight success”, raps Sean as he makes it known that it has taken him quite some time to get to where he is at now in his career.

The album continues chronologically with back to back “bangers” with “Blessings”, “All Your Fault”, and “IDFWU”.

“Blessings” was the third single to be released before the album and features Drake on what is one of the catchiest songs on the album with the hook, “I’m way up, I feel blessed” sung repeatedly throughout.

Sean recruits Drake to team up for “Blessings” as they rap about being truly blessed for the impactful and successful careers both rappers have achieved over the course of the last decade.

“All Your Fault” follows with a melodic oldie sample of Ambrosia’s 1978 hit “How Much I Feel” as Kanye West and Travi$ Scott sing the catchy hook of “Lit for your love baby, lit for your love”.

The song is perhaps one of the best on the album as it features Kanye West delivering a new type of vocal flow that hasn’t been heard from him before as he proclaims “that’s that new Ye” and hilarious rhyme schemes such as “Young Walt Disney, I’ma tell you truthfully/If you leave Mickey you gon’ end up with a Goofy.”

The popular radio-hit of “IDFWU” is the next to follow on the album featuring classic west coast rapper E-40 and has been played non-stop on every radio station, club, concert, and it is probably everyone’s mother’s favorite song to listen to on the way to work or workout to.

The track is produced by the popular DJ Mustard (who seems to produce almost 90 percent of every song on the radio today) and begins with an oldie sample of D.J. Rogers “Say You Love Me”, layed down by co-producer Kanye West.

“I don’t f with you/You lil stupid a** b***, I ain’t f***’n with you/ You lil, you lil dumb a** b***, I ain’t f***’n with you”, curses and chants Sean on the very honestly open song that may or may not be directed towards his ex-girlfriend Naya Rivera.

The album also features slow melodic tracks for those not wanting to listen to an album full of “bangers” and radio-hits.

“One Man Can Change the World” is an emotionally impactful track that features fellow G.O.O.D. Music artists Kanye West and John Legend singing a soulful ballad, relaying a positive and empowering message to listeners.

Throughout the track Sean reflects on the positive influences in his life, the struggles he faced throughout his journey, and the influence his grandmother (who passed away earlier this year) had on his life.

“Deserve It” is another slow track with rising R&B singer PartyNextDoor, as Sean raps about an old flame from high school and the days leading up to meeting Kanye West before getting his big break.

DJ Mustard comes back for another pop-driven hit on “I Know”, in which Sean teams up with popular female singer Jhene Aiko.

The track is slower than “IDFWU” but still has a strong bass line and build up that correlates with catchy lyrics such as “Blame it on the alcohol or blame it on sativa”.

Although “Dark Sky Paradise” features great collaborations with critically-acclaimed artists and has a perfect balance of club bangers and slow melodies, the album has its weak moments that limit the overall powerful impact the album truly has.

“Stay Down” is a song that could’ve been left out of the album as it is very repetitive at times and sounds like a Chris Brown or Kid Ink rip-off, while the Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign collaborative track “Play No Games” could’ve been much more stronger with a better beat and much more catchy lyrics.

Sean’s collaborative track with girlfriend Ariana Grande, “Research” was also a letdown as it had no catchy lyrics or hook, while the beat was very slow and off.

The second collaboration with Jhene Aiko on “Win Some, Lose Some” would’ve been better off with Ariana Grande, while “Deep” with Lil Wayne was a huge let down as it could’ve made for a huge banger instead of a slow track with fast paced rhymes.

On the bright side, “Paradise” provides a huge “trap-banger” produced by the popular Mike Will Made It and is a track that will be played in clubs everywhere for a good while.

Despite the flaws, “Dark Sky Paradise” definitely lives up to the hype and deserves the success it has received.

While it may not be Sean’s best work, as his previous album “Hall of Fame” had much more depth and variety of club/party hits, “Dark Sky Paradise” shows Sean’s progress as a rapper and lyricist, and the potential to be one of the hottest artists in the game.

Stream the album below via Spotify.

Music video for “Blessings” via YouTube.

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