Big Sean on Detroit, dating Naya Rivera and dealing with Kendrick Lamar


Sean’s personal life and his career are in perfect alignment right now; an ideal example of how talent and timing can coalesce and reap major benefits. Nothing showcased that better than his release of a standalone track called “Control” in early August. A track that also features Roc Nation rapper Jay Electronica and a scene-stealing verse from Kendrick Lamar, it became an instant phenomenon due to Lamar calling out virtually every major hip-hop star of his generation. The song was due to be included on but missed the final cut. Sean leaked it himself, and when fans heard Lamar’s verse — it sparked a firestorm.

“We did in just a sport type of thing,” Sean explains. “I did my verse, Jay Elec did his verse and then Kendrick hit me up. I’d already [done] my verse and sent in the beat with my verse and he was like ‘N—a, you spittin’! I’mma get something for you in two days.’ At first, I was cracking up [when I heard his verse], like ‘What’s this fool on?’ He’s just saying it’s competition. Everybody thinks they’re the best. That’s why we do it — to be the best. I thought it was positive for hip-hop. I was sitting on it and then I [decided to] not go back and change my verse and try to one-up him because I didn’t think that was ethical. I’m from a city of Gs where we don’t do shady stuff like that. I didn’t wanna do like LL Cool J did Canibus. That ain’t keepin’ it G. I kept my verse because I thought it was awesome and I was spittin’ on it. And I was! And Kendrick was, too, and Jay Elec. But the fact that Kendrick did that name-dropping took it over the top. But that’s what it’s about. I’m happy I made that play and I orchestrated and owned that moment in hip-hop. We all had our parts, and Kendrick definitely delivered on it. We all delivered on it. I’ve never seen hip-hop so energized. It’s awesome.”

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