With ‘Detroit 2,’ Big Sean’s suc...

With ‘Detroit 2,’ Big Sean’s success is personal for Detroiters

If there’s nothing else to say about Detroiters, we will support and defend our own.

Big Sean Detroit2 album cover

When Big Sean dropped “Detroit 2” last week, I listened a few times, read the reviews, got on Twitter, of course — and took a trip down memory lane.

Everyone has a Big Sean story, at least it feels that way. At least I do — I remember meeting Big Sean on April 16, 2009. I was just discovering Detroit’s rap scene and beginning to blog about it. Big Sean was an opener for N.E.R.D. at a free concert at Wayne State University. For two years, close friends tried to convince me that Sean Anderson, a Cass Tech alum and fellow Westsider, was the next big thing. I was at this show in Gullen Mall to see for myself. 

When Big Sean was just Sean

At the time, most people knew him as the kid who landed a record deal after rapping for Kanye West outside of the 102.7 FM station in 2006. I knew him because of his feature on “Cooler Than Me,” a song by his good friend Mike Posner. 

During the after party at the Majestic Theatre back in 2009, Big Sean walked around to every person and personally handed them a hard copy of his second mixtape, “Finally Famous Vol. 2: #UKNOWBIGSEAN” that would drop that night.

For many of us, Big Sean’s climb to stardom is a blueprint for our own successes. We watched Big Sean go from performing in Club Bleu and The Shelter to selling out Joe Louis Arena. We’ve watched his style evolve from Tisa caps, POW chains and a Burn Rubber letterman to a Puma deal and full fashion spreads in GQ magazine.

Started at the bottom now we’re here

Here we are over 10 years later, and Big Sean has dropped arguably the best (and most transparent) album of his career, “Detroit 2.”

If there’s nothing else to say about Detroiters, we will support and defend our own. Our Detroitness is ingrained into our lives so much it’s practically in our DNA. It’s in how we speak, how we dress and how we move — Big Sean is no different. 

While most people will listen to “The Baddest” and hear the theme song to the film “Godzilla,” Detroiters will hear DJ Slugo andDJ Godfather’s “Godzilla” ghetto-tech mix and immediately start to hip-roll or jit. The rest of the world will think the Detroit 2 Instagram filter is just a copy of Big Sean’s glasses, but here we know they’re really Buffs, part of the Detroit uniform. Then, of course, there’s “Friday Night Cypher,” a track where Big Sean shares his spotlight with a festival’s worth of Detroit rap rookies and veterans: Eminem, Kash Doll, Tee Grizzley, 42 Dugg, Sada Baby, Cash Kidd, Boldy James, Royce da 5’9″, Drego and Payroll. Listen to a playlist featuring music from the Detroit rappers on Big Sean’s album:

Big Sean is Detroit’s hometown hero. He continues to give back to the city through his charity the Sean Anderson foundation and has built recording studios for his alma mater and local Boys & Girls clubs.

Through his success and charitable works, Big Sean has managed to stay his authentic Detroit self. His roots and connections to the city makes everyone feel like they know him (even if they’ve never met him). With a career spanning over a decade, this Westside Detroiter is finally getting his flowers.

Big Sean is finally famous.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified DJ Snowflake as the original producer of the Godzilla mix. It is DJ Slugo and DJ Godfather.

Alex Washington is the community manager at Detour Detroit. She is a Detroit-based freelance lifestyle/entertainment journalist, blogger and podcast host. When she's not dissecting rap lyrics, she's probably baking something – and tweeting about it. Follow her on Twitter: @alex_washington.