Big Sean - Accepting Missteps and Growth on "I Decided" - Extended Interview

January 24, 2017 - Big Sean 01/24/2017 Views: 28,094

Big Sean chats about the personal growth he went through before writing his album "I Decided" and discusses the work he does in Africa with The Sean Anderson Foundation. (9:53)

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Please welcome Big Sean.

-♪ -(cheering and applause)


-Wow.-Welcome, man.

This is a good crowdright there.

Oh, yeah. This is an amazingcrowd, what do you mean?

What do you mean?

The people love you, man;the people love you.

Hey, you're doing a great jobon this show, by the way.

Thank you, man.I appreciate you, man.

-Thank you very...-I'm really enjoying it.

I'm-I'm such a big fan of y--you know, I have to hold myself

from, like, rapping lyrics at--Do people do that?

Where they just come up to youand just start rapping

every single lyric you have?

-All the time.-Yeah?

How long do you waitbefore you go, like...

-That's great, though.-Yeah?

That's what, that's whatI've been wanting, you know,

-my whole life.-Oh, okay, okay.

-I should have done that-I don't get tired of it.

when I first met you, just runin and been, like,

-♪ I... got... wait. No, no. -Yeah.

-Welcome to the show.-Thanks for having me.

-And congratulations oneverything. -Appreciate it.

-First things first, firstthings first. -Mm-hmm.

(cheering and applause)

"Bounce Back", "Bounce Back",your new single,

-went gold just yesterday, socongratulations on that. -Yes.

-Thank you.-(cheering and applause)

Very unexpected, too.

I did want to ask youa serious question.

And I know this may bea little bit tense

for some people,

and I hope you won't hate mefor asking it, but...

-Oh, boy.-In "Bounce Back"

-you rap that last nightyou took an L, -Yeah.

which is not something manyrappers would be open about,

-This is true, yeah.-taking an L.

-You say "I took an L but I--tonight I bounced back." -Right.

What Ls have you taken recentlyin life, Big Sean?


I feel like taking Lsis a part of life.

It's how you bounce backfrom them.

-But you know a recent LI took, though? -Yeah.

I was on--I've been, you know...

-I was just on Jimmy Fallon.-Yeah.

And my phone was ringing in themiddle of me telling, like,

a really important story.

And the cameras were live,so that was, like,

for sure an L I tookwas my phone ringing

-in the middle of an importantinterview, but... -Oh, man.

That sucks, dude,that's an L.

-That is an L.-But then...

Tonight you bounced back.

-But tonight I bounced back.-You bounced--

I see what-- You see theselyrics, prophetic, man.

Well, what about you?You take any Ls?

-Do I take Ls?-Yeah.

I-I don't... I don't...Uh, yeah, every day, every day.

I, uh... Today what happenedwas my shoelaces were untied.

It was raining, so I was walkingto work and then my shoelaces

were untied and then I, like,I let go of the umbrella,

not thinking that... You forget,'cause a lot of the time

-you forget that you're holdingthe umbrella. -Right?

And so then I let go of theumbrella to tie my shoes

-and the umbrellafell on my head. -Okay.

And then I was like,"If anyone's watching..."

So then I just acted likethat's how I roll.

And then I just carried on,and I was like,

"Yeah, that's my swag."And then... -Yeah.

-But someone saw me and I tookan L. -I did-I did fall

-getting out of the caryesterday, too. -Oh,

-so there's another L.-That is another L.

I like this, man, we'reconnecting on the Ls.

-I like this, I like this.-It's cool. Yeah.

But let's-let's talk abouthe album, man.

Uh, it-it's a beautiful album,uh, you know,

called I Decided. What did you decide?

I feel like my whole life whole life has been,

you know... My whole lifechanged when I decided.

It's been based off of decision,right and wrong,

-know what I mean?-Yeah.

So, for my last album, I wantedto do something different,

something that showeda little growth.

So even on the coverof the album you see a, um...

I never really explain ittoo much, but there's, like,

a current-day version of meand there's a older version

of me, a old man version of me.And we're parallel.

But, um...throughout the whole...

throughout my life I alwaysfelt like I got a second chance

at everything, somehow. Just theway the luck has gone through,

just with my story,getting my record deal,

-with the success I've seen.-Yeah.

Like, sometimes I do feel likeI got to the end of my life

and failed at everything.Like, failed at love,

failed at career, failed at,

you know, personal dreams.

And somehow I got a chanceand got back to go back in time

-and get it all right.-Damn.

So that's kind of the storyof the album and, um...

and it's also about living withthat wisdom of your older self

as a old man, but having it now.I feel like in 2017

that's something that's verymuch needed with these times

we going through, so that'sthe whole story of the album.

You-you do say that the albumis a snapshot of life.

-Mm-hmm. -You know?Uh, many great artists say that.

That the music... Whateverthey create, whatever art it is

-is a snapshot of the timesthey live in. -Mm-hmm.

A lot of people are now sayingthat, you know,

with everything that's beenhappening in the world--

and you're no stranger to it,you know, with, uh...

with Kanye and with John Legend,you guys received awards

-for your work and your music---Right, right, right.

but, like, do you feel that thisis, like, a great time for rap,

as a whole? Do you think,like, hip-hop is seeing

a growth again, where people arespeaking about what they see?

Well, I mean, hip-hop is,um, statistically,

the most streamed genre of musicright now.

And I feel like,in-in this day and age,

music, there is...It's really no genres anymore.

-It's just good music that youlike, bad music, -Yeah.

you know? I kind of feel likeit used to be almost segregated,

like, "I only like countrymusic," "I only like rap music,"

"I only like, you know,this and that,"

"I don't like rock."But it's not like that anymore.

It's just, like,good music in every genre

and bad music in every genre.

But what I can say is thatthe evolution of just, you know,

being who you areand just not giving a...

-Giving a (bleep). You can sayit here. -Yeah. Oh, okay, cool.

-I didn't... -You can say it.You can say "give a (bleep)."

-Not giving a (bleep), just...-We listened

to the explicit albumon the show. Don't worry.

-You can... you can say thathere. Yeah. -Oh, cool.

-I didn't know. -L-Let's talka little bit about giving back.

You know, you-you have the-theSean Anderson Foundation,

which is something a lot ofartists do when they get older.

You started really young. Andthat is all about giving back,

you know, uh,getting kids involved.

You have a mogul programthat gets kids in touch

with peoplein professional careers

-to try and give them guidance.-Yeah.

Uh, you also have a pen palprogram that gets kids writing

and connecting with children inAfrica. How did you start that?

Well, yeah. Me and my mom,she-she helps run

my foundation for me.You know, ever since I was...

her and my grandma, ever sinceI was-- I don't know,

as long as I can remember--always made me, you know,

-give back to charity, whetherit was Salvation Army -Yeah.

or whatever the case.So my foundation,

my mom helps me run it. And it'sjust cool to see the progression

and the difference we've madein a lot of people's lives.

And one of the programs we dois mogul prep.

It's actually a curriculum thatwe're looking to integrate...

integrate into school systems.So we...

It's already in a lot of Detroitschools and Baltimore schools.

But what it is is...

'Cause growing,I wanted to be a rapper.

-That's all I wanted to be.-Yeah.

But everybody can't be a rapper,

everybody can't bea basketball player,

whatever the case may,you know...

I feel like that's selfishof you to say, 'cause now

-you're a rapper, now you're,like... -I know. I know. Right?

Now that I'm here, you guys needto find other jobs.

-(laughter)-Yeah, but I... but...

-But I understand. -But becominga rapper, what I realized is

that I have a business manager,I have a manager,

a lawyer, a business lawyer,

-a publisher, a publicist...-Yeah.

...a creative director, um,you know, jobs.

So many jobs, and it's, like,

I didn't even knowthose jobs existed.

So what Mogul Prep does isit bridges the gaps and

brings that to kids who may nothave seen that,

you know, on TV or...

They don't really teach thatin school,

and I thinkthat's an important part

to just know all the different,

um, jobs you can havein this industry.

So we brought, like,my publisher, my publicist,

all these different peopleto speak to these kids,

and they were really blown awayby just knowing

the different options,and you could see, like,

their eyes lighting upwhen they,

you know, heard about thesedifferent jobs, and... -Well...

So I think it's somethingthat's important.

It really is important, because,I mean, a lot of people... Yeah.

-(applause and cheering)-Yeah. So...

You know, a lot of people...

Yeah, so, we're lookingto integrate that more.

And then as far as the,

um... the Knapsack Initiativeyou were talking about is,

in Detroit there's an academy,Bates Academy,

where young kids... where we...we've given them knapsacks

for the school supplies

that they wouldn'tnormally be able to have.

-Mm-hmm.-And we've also...

They have pen palsin Soweto, Africa.

-That's where I grew up.-Yeah. Oh, wow.

I was a pen pal, and then,Jon Stewart wrote to me,

-and then I came here.-(laughter)

-That's how it happened,so thank you. Thank you. -Yeah.

-(applause) -So basically,

they have these pen pals,

and we send the knapsacksto the pen pals, too,

and it just gives these kids,you know, relationships...

-Yeah. -...that they alwayskeep in touch with.

And so the kids in Sowetohave been so sweet.

They send, um, video,dancing, you know, saying,

"Thank you, Big Sean, and thankyou Sean Anderson for all this."

-So it's cool, though.-It's beautiful.

I got to let you go soon,but I... but before...

There's been over 5,000knapsacks, too,

-we've been able to do. -Wow.Wow. -(applause and cheering)

I, uh, I got to let you go,but not before I talk to you

about what you've been doing,uh, in Detroit.

-You are from Michigan,-Mm-hmm.

and you have beenone of the people

who has been unrelenting whenit comes to Flint, Michigan.

-Right.-You know? We just saw today

that the, you know,the GOP voted

to-to-to end the investigation.

And what you've been doingis more on the ground,

with the people-- you'vebeen getting, you know, kids

the healthand the water that they need.

This is somethingthat's really close to you.

You know, what are the thingsyou're proud of,

and what are you still tryingto do in Flint?

Well, I just know it'snot even close to being over.

You know? In that situation,I feel like it's not a...

it wasn't a natural disaster,it's something

that should have been preventedand could have been prevented.

So it's just disgustingto think about the...

the damages that these familiesand... and even kids

have to go throughwith the lead poisoning.

-Yeah. -My mom had, um,a degree of lead poisoning.

It was very hardfor her to deal with,

but she was able,through holistic care

and homeopathic, like, remedies,was able to reverse

a lot of the, um,effects of lead poisoning.

-Yeah. -So once she wasreal passionate about it, too,

just making sure these kidsget the proper care.

So what we've been doingis we raised...

um, just abouta hundred thousand dollars

for Flint on our own,through the foundation,

to seek the proper careand not just give them water,

but, you know,all these different things.

-(applause, whooping, whistling)-And on top of that...

on top of that, uh...

the last song on my album,I've featured--

I haven't revealed this--but I'm featuring, um,

the Flint Chosen choir--it's a choir from Flint--

just to reach out and to show

-some support from that side,too, creatively, -Yeah.

because it's a song called"Bigger Than Me,"

and, you know,once you'll hear it,

you'll see why I wanted themto be on that.

But I was just happy to have,you know,

Flint be a part of my albumin that way as well, too, so...

Dude, you're doingeverything big.

-All right, thanks.-I appreciate you being here.

-(cheering, applause)-Than you so much. All the best.

I Decided will be availableon February 3,

and you can preorder it now.

Big Sean, everybody.