Sean Goes Big and Gloomy on ‘Dark Sky Paradise’

Courtesy of Good Music

Courtesy of Good Music

Hard-working fathers in 1950s America caught flack in the generations following the era for being so immersed in their work they often deprived themselves and the loved ones whom they work to support for hours on end. The lifestyle is still shunned by many even in the face of rap’s advent where terms like the 2Chainz-coined “griming” (grinding x timing), has become what is praised and expected by the present-day rock stars.

It’s a problem that Big Sean comes face-to-face with in his oxymoronically titled third LP, “Dark Sky Paradise.” Dating back to his last project (“Hall of Fame”), the 26 year-old has been cognizant about rule of mastery with songs like “10 2 10”, an ode to the amount of hours he works in order to climb the rungs where his frequent collaborators (Drake) and mentor (Yeezus) sit. Sean, along with others with their ears pressed against headphones, listening to rap’s every word, agree that the Detroit native needs more work before reaching a level that makes him untouchable. In an interview released on Thursday, Kanye sat down with Zane Lowe where he mentioned that both he and the Toronto pioneer were ahead of Sean.

But as opposed to the cut from his sophomore effort which was more focused on Sean securing he and his family financially, DSP presents a new problem. All work and no play has put Sean in a burdensome situation. Imagine having everything you’ve worked for and celebrating your successes but realizing you have squandered the chance to engage in your livelihood soon thereafter.

As Drake sings on the albums second single, “Blessings”, the rapper hasn’t “had a good time in a long time” while realizing that he’s “here for a good time”, as opposed to a “long time”. There’s a storm cloud following the rapper creating the dark sky, all of which impair the wildly successful artist’s paradise. Literally, the album carries around rolling thunder which can be found on the breakdown in the uptempo, one might even dare say, basic smash, “IDFWU”. Again on the summer release turned pivotal plot point in the album “Paradise”, producer Mike Will Made-It sets Sean up with thunderous accents to underlay the true feel of the album.

The entire LP carries a gloom that one wouldn’t wish on really anyone. “Win Some, Lose Some”, with its rewound vinyl sounds, create the feeling of regret while Jhene Aiko’s sappy vocals swirl over hissing, rainy percussion. In their fifth collab of their short careers, the two intertwine their opiated vocals as they wrestle with the dis-courageous tactics that render the chance of a normal relationship virtually impossible. “I know you diving through pain, I know you going so crazy, I know you running on empty,” Aiko runs-on while her co-piece drones over the last line. Again, its the grinding that he mentions in “Blessings” that has significant others mad at him.

When listeners begin to build concern for the reeling Sean, though, Kanye, John Legend and Sean’s recently passed grandma help to remind the taxed prince that hope is not to be lost.


RECOMMENDED: Big Sean’s newest album is a gloomy departure from his previous work. He’s got a lot of work to do but his newest LP is worth checking out.