In the final segment of my three-part interview with Big Sean, he explains how he managed to get Kanye West to take him on as a protégé, why Kanye isn't an a—hole, and what the Detroit rap scene was like during his come up.
Big Sean met Kanye West by chance during the summer before his senior year of high school. Then, Big Sean was working as a telemarketer making $130 per week. When one of Big Sean's friends heard Kanye West on the local radio station, he called the aspiring rapper and told him to rush down to the studio before the "Watch The Throne" rapper left the building.
Big Sean, who had been appearing on the station's Friday Night Cipher rap battles, lied to the security guards, telling them that he left his phone in the back office and needed to get it. Once they let him in, he made his way Kanye.
"I never met a celebrity, and it's one of my idols, so I'm nervous, my heart beating out my chest," Big Sean recalls. But when he approached Kanye and asked to rap for him, the Chicago MC brushed him off. Big Sean was persistent and Kanye eventually let him rap for him as he walked to his car.
Big Sean said he has a lot of respect for Kanye seeing the potential in the amateur rapper and giving him a chance. He thinks Kanye's reputation as self-centered is inaccurate. He considers Kanye to be among the most selfless people he knows, saying that Kanye gives of his himself to his art and friends.
"People sit up and call him an a—hole, I just think he's funny," Big Sean says. "He has a great sense of humor. Wouldn't no a—hole pursue a kid rapping for him at a station. No a—hole would ride me and my mom around in his Maybach in New York City or wouldn't no a—hole make a kid's dreams come true. I just don't see how he's a bad guy. He's probably one of the most inspiring people I've met and he's changed my life, saved my life."
Before Kanye made that now historical pit stop in the Motor City, Big Sean found inspiration from a number of local artists. "I grew up listening to Em, Royce, J. Dilla, Slum Village, and even people who weren't so known like the Cheddas Boys," he said. "You can actually hear a little bit of Eminem in my flow."