BIG Sean : How 16 seconds got BIG Sean signed to Kanye & GOOD Music
How 16 seconds got Big Sean signed to Kanye West & G.O.O.D Music (2005)
Recently, an episode of the pop-culture phenomenon TV show, 𝘏𝘰𝘵 𝘖𝘯𝘦𝘴 , featured Detroit legend Big Sean. Over some ridiculously spicy chicken wings, Sean tells the hosts of the show about his recent journeys in music, spirituality and his humble beginnings in rap music. The story of his inauguration into the hip-hop scene is one for the history books though; wooing the industry titan Kanye West in a face-to-face freestyle in Detroit.
The year is 2005, and Sean Anderson (a.k.a Big Sean) is an aspiring 17 year old rapper out of Detroit, Michigan working as a telemarketer. One Saturday when Sean was cashing his $100 cheque as usual, a friend of his called him up and told him Kanye West was at WHTD Studio in Detroit, an establishment where Sean had ties and would record. In a burst of thoughtless inspiration, Big Sean left the bank and borrowed $20 from his friend to rush downtown to the studio. He arrived as Kanye was exiting the studio doors, and after pleading with the reluctant artist, was allowed 16 bars to spit to Kanye as they walked out to the parking lot. The rest as they say it is history, as Big Sean would go on to rap for 10 consecutive minutes, impressing Kanye and eventually getting himself signed to his label G.O.O.D. music in 2007.
Both Kanye and Big Sean seem to have a slightly different memory of that 2005 summer afternoon. In 2009, Kanye reflected on the matter with Mixtape Daily, noting “It was like out of the movies, I could hear his personality and character in it.” Big Sean recollection of the encounter is less impressive, telling LA Leakers in a 2012 interview that his freestyle for Kanye was “just not good”, though he did recall one catchy bar about a pornstar that may have caught Kanye’s ear.