Big Sean Talks ‘Cruel Summer’, “Mercy”, The Meaning Of “Swerve” & His New Album With Complex
Big Sean is living out his dreams! The Detroit native rose from the streets of D-Town to the top of the music industry, where he currently sits with his mentor Kanye West. As I previous reported, Sean is in the studio working on his sophomore album which arrives soon. In an interview with Complex, Sean talks about G.O.O.D. Music collaborative album Cruel Summer, the single “Mercy”, the meaning of his ad-lib “Swerve” and much more. Below are some excerpts:
Let’s talk about the spirit of competition. Where will Cruel Summer rank amongst the great hip-hop compilation albums?
Big Sean: I just feel like we’re the best. I’ve heard a lot of the collaborations. I’ve heard what people have been doing. Of course you’re going to listen to it and try to make your music the best, so that’s what we’ve been doing—making our music the best it can be. The best quality, the best raps, the best concepts, and it’s going to be unique.
As a crew, G.O.O.D. Music is taking it to levels that really haven’t been done collectively. Kanye is someone who knows how to make classic albums, a true thinker. He got me in the mindset of being a true thinker and always planning out every move you got going.
Is it true that your “Mercy” verse started out as a random freestyle for Kanye?
Yeah, I was really freestyling with Kanye backstage at the Watch the Throne tour and he was like, “Man, you got to say this on the record.” I was like, “Man, I ain’t about to say that. I just put out ‘A$$.’ I don’t need to be talking about no ‘ass-quake, ass-tate.’” But I just laid it to see how it sounded and then for a while, there were no other verses on “Mercy.”
It was just my verse and we were vibing to it, so it naturally fit on there. I don’t really write any of my raps down. The same, Kanye don’t write any of his raps down. Common. It’s easy that way. For me, personally, I figure I will lose some of the inspiration in the time of me writing it down or I’ll say it a certain way because I wrote it a certain way. When I go in there and do it, it’s easier for me.
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Where did you “Swerve” ad-lib come from? That’s a fan favorite now.
I just feel like that’s what I’m doing. I’m swerving around. Especially in the D-Town with whips everywhere in the city. That’s something my crew was saying a long time ago. I guess it’s something I brought to the forefront to where everybody can hear it. That’s what it’s all about, making new stuff up, making this elevated.
A lot of people criticize me because I be making up my own words sometimes in raps to rhyme, but I don’t understand how you can criticize someone trying to bring originality to the game. I think that’s really bitch-made to hate on somebody who rose up out their city and had a dream and made it happen and made their parents proud and supporting their family off of it too. You can hate, but I’m going to keep making this paper, though.
Which rapper from G.O.O.D. is killing the raps on Cruel Summer the most?
I’m giving them bars for sure. Pusha is like that beast that you let off the leash and he just tear everything up. CyHi. Common. Of course ‘Ye always bring that fresh, new stuff to the game. The whole fam. True albums should be the soundtrack to your life and fit different moods.
What can we expect from Cruel Summer, topically?
I could tell you the topics we’re going to be hitting on, but I feel like that’s going to be spoiling the album too much. What I’m telling you is it’s going to be the freshest music out there. It’s going to be topics we live to. I can’t wait for y’all to hear it. For real.
What can people expect from your upcoming sophomore album?
Well, we just got the first single. I’m not going to tell you who’s all on it. Dope ass artists on it, though, for sure. It’s great. It’s something that connects. When I was playing it for Common, he was losing his mind. J. Cole was blown away. It really is elevating, taking it to a different level. I don’t even want to hype it up or talk too much like, “Yeah, my album is the shit!” I just can’t wait for everyone to hear what I’ve been doing, what I’ve been cooking up. We’re figuring it all out. I don’t know the title of the album. I know it’s coming out this year.
Read the interview in its entirety over at Complex.