Big Sean, the up-and-coming Detroit rapper, has returned with his trademark punchline-heavy, laid-back raps on his latest mixtape, Finally Famous Vol. 3.
The free 18-track body of work is Big Sean's way of appeasing hungry fans and raising awareness for Finally Famous the Album, which is scheduled for release later this year.
All of the stereotypical rap topics can be found on this piece. Subjects include money, women and clothes, but Big Sean also takes time to talk about relationships and past life struggles.
This go around, Big Sean raps over production from the Olympicks, Don Cannon, No I.D. and the guy who signed him, Kanye West. Beats provided by Key Wane, a young Detroit producer, also stand out.
Although the Key Wane-produced "My Closet" is one of the weaker tracks on the tape, "Almost Wrote You a Love Song" and "Memories" may be two of the best.
"Almost Wrote You a Love Song" features Sean pouring out his emotions about a love-filled relationship gone wrong alongside the vocals of R&B singer Saui. The similar sounding "Memories" introduces Sean's reflective and introspective side over a simple piano melody that's accompanied by drums and hand claps, reminiscent of the backing heard on the classic Clipse single "Grindin."
The sole track provided by DJ Spins, "Meant to Be," is guaranteed to get heads nodding. The beat, filled with drum snares, takes advantage of the trend used most recently by rookie producer Lex Luger on club-bangers like "B.M.F." and "Hard in the Paint."
Finally Famous Vol. 3 boasts more guest spots than both of Big Sean's previous two mixtapes combined. This project includes collaborations with Bun B, Chip Tha Ripper, Curren$y, Mike Posner, Drake, Asher Roth and others.
"Made," a track that features popular newcomer Drake, showcases a boyish arrogance that Big Sean somehow makes cool. He raps, "I'm just waiting on my cue dog/No pledge/Said she likes all girls/I turned that b**ch co-ed." The addition of a solid verse from Drake makes the track one of the best listens on the mixtape.
But the thing that really makes the mixtape stand out is Big Sean's word-play. Nearly every track is stuffed with punchlines, metaphors and similes.
"I'm on that upper echelon/ You should climb up and be down with it all/‘Cause we go hand-in-hand like (clap, clap, clap) round of applause," Sean raps on the Mike Posner-assisted slow jam "Ambiguous."
Finally Famous Vol. 3 doesn't put him into the league with the best rappers out right now, but it shows that he may be well on his way. Big Sean definitely has big personality and it's on full display on this effort. The mixtape doesn't push the boundaries of rap, but hip-hop lovers of slick wordplay and bass-filled production are in for a treat.
Finally Famous Vol. 3 can be downloaded for free at http:// www.xxlmag.com. Atlanta fans have an opportunity to see Big Sean perform live with Donnis on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Loft.