An artist’s sophomore album is usually defined as their career making one and with Big Sean‘s “Hall of Fame“, he proves that he is not just a commercial rapper but a improved lyricist who is still learning to master his craft. There is no denying that the year following his debut release of “Finally Famous“, Sean has had a list of accomplishments. From launching his clothing line Aura Gold, holding his own with plenty of charismatic verses on “Cruel Summer“, dropping a critically acclaimed “Detroit” mixtape, to dating the beautiful Naya Rivera, the 25 year old rapper is in nothing but a celebratory mood but still remains humble.
“…What you know about feeling something you can’t even touch”
Opening with set of violins and crowd applause, the intro “Nothing is Stopping You” is equally attention grabbing as it is motivational. Carrying the theme that hard work and dedication will reward you with the things you desire, Big Sean’s flow definitely reflects the self-satisfaction that fame has brought him. A theme and sound that smoothly transitions into the Key Wayne produced keys of the soulful lead single “Fire” and the Young Jeezy and Payroll assisted “It’s Time“. The track “10 2 10” takes the listener on a walk down Sean’s memory lane and serves as the album’s autobiographical piece as he spits about life growing up in the city of Detroit.
Although there are some songs with more introspection, there are still some pop-oriented and cliched tracks that make their way onto the effort. “Toyota Music” and “You Don’t Know” featruing Ellie Goulding serve as the more radio-friendly, light tracks. “Beware” finds an odd place on the catalog with the chorus assisted by the rising-star vocalist Jhene Aiko and a quick verse from Lil Wayne and “M.I.L.F.” is the album’s equivalent to “Dance (ASS)“, and comes complete with an even raunchier verse from the Young Money femcee Nicki Minaj. Even with the slight generic tunes, the production and mixture of dope beats find a way to still make you enjoy the shallowness of many of these tracks.
Sean Anderson is not the greatest emcees in the game or the voice of the streets, but he definitely has the potential and drive to be. It is clear that Big Sean draws inspiration from his mentor Kanye West and, like “Finally Famous“, his flow is very reminiscent of early West with little less wit and more humility. With “Hall of Fame” he delivers a solid piece of material that carries a strong momentum that is unwavered but mild bumps in cliched and generic territory. Bringing in production from No I.D. and enlisting features from Nas, Meek Mill, and 2 Chainz do much to strengthen the catalog but do not overpower his bravado.