Big Sean has been able to stand alone as one of the greatest MCs to come from Detroit, but he also knows how to be a team player. His expert word choice and unique “Supa Dupa” flow impressed hip-hop enthusiasts nationwide before his debut project, Finally Famous: The Mixtape, dropped in 2007 — including Kanye West, who was the first major artist to give Sean a shot on his team in the major leagues of hip-hop.
After landing the G.O.O.D Music deal, Sean has proven to be the go-to artist on the features circuit. Once Yeezy gave him the ultimate co-sign, everyone wanted to work with the Sean Don. Over the past decade, Sean has blessed numerous bangers with his superb verses alongside other top-charting artists like Rae Sremmurd, Chris Brown, Juicy J, Lil Wayne and plenty more. Sean has teamed up with every artist on G.O.O.D Music’s roster to knock out hits like “Don’t Like (Remix)” and “Clique,” including latest addition Desiigner for the remix to “Liife.”
Today, Sean’s list of dope collaborative efforts runs longer than that of some of his contemporaries. Before Big Sean graces the Billboard Hot 100 festival stage on Saturday, Aug. 19, take a look at some of his best rap features to date.
“All Me,” Drake Feat. 2 Chainz & Big Sean (2013)
It was impossible to escape Drake’s “All Me” in 2013. The smash single off Nothing Was the Same kept the airwaves and clubs lit, and still does from time to time. Although Drake’s hook is unforgettable and 2 Chainz’s verse is up to par, the anticipation for Big Sean’s verse never fails to get fans all the way turnt up until the second they hear “Ho, shut the f— up!” Although he drops a reference about his ex-girlfriend, Glee star Naya Rivera (“making more money than me and shit”), the Sean Don’s confident wordplay will always overpower the record with memorable bars and an aggressive ending.
“Don’t Play,” Travis Scott Feat. Big Sean & The 1975 (2014)
Everything about Travis $cott’s “Don’t Play” is phenomenal, but Big Sean’s unique flow is the glue that holds it all together. In 2014, Travis linked up with Sean and The 1975 for his stand-out single off Days Before Rodeo. Just like Travis, Sean didn’t come to play with haters that would stunt with tank guns yet never join his army.
The Detroit rapper took the opportunity to flex like a true boss should, and remind the lames in the rap game of his roots. “You forgot where I came from? I’m from where you ain’t from/Where you can’t come, where it ain’t none/Where these bitches is bitches and they ain’t nuns.” He closes out by claiming victory against said lames, yet still remains humble at the end of the day.
“B Boy,” Meek Mill Feat. Big Sean & A$AP Ferg (2015)
One of Meek Mill’s better singles to come from his 2015 album Dreams Worth More Than Money is his Big Sean- and A$AP Ferg-assisted single, “B-Boy.” Meek gave both Sean and Ferg the opportunity to snap over SAP’s bouncy instrumental fit for any dope boy. Before Ferg hops in the Maybach with Meek and Wale, Sean walks all over the middle of the record with his pimp-type limp while dropping off gold lyrics.
He hijacks the spotlight for a good minute in search of a bag full of green like a lawnmower, as if he didn’t already have any. “I got money bags under my eyes, ho, cause I ain’t sleep/They all Goyard too cause I ain’t cheap.” Overall, Sean balled out of control on Meek’s standout record and had a blast making it rain gold-plated bars all over it.
“Detroit vs. Everybody,” Eminem Feat. Royce Da 5’9″, Big Sean, Danny Brown, DeJ Loaf & Trick Trick (2015)
Despite everything he went through growing up, Sean proved his love for the largest city in Michigan is unbreakable when he dropped his Detroit mixtape back in 2012. Several years later, in 2015, Sean was tasked to defend his city when Eminem recruited him to join an elite squad of Detroit’s finest rappers in Royce Da 5’9″, Danny Brown, DeJ Loaf,and the OG Trick Trick on “Detroit vs. Everybody.”
With all the heavyweights in the game on his side, Big Sean utilized all the ammunition in his arsenal to come out victorious on his hard-hitting verse. “If the ball in my hand, then the ball in the net/Bitch, I’m the D, can’t no offense dunk on me/I’m Mr. Big Shot, these hoes get drunk off me.” After “living a lifetime a few times,” Sean embraces the fact that he’s self-made and over-respected with his braggadocio rhymes that uppercut anyone that tries to mess with him or anyone from his hometown. His contribution will live on to not only be one of his best guest verses, but also his best ode to Detroit thus far.
“Mercy,” Feat. Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Pusha-T & Big Sean (2012)
The G.O.O.D Music days of Big Sean’s career let the mainstream music industry witness the full extent of his skills on the mic. When Cruel Summer made waves back in 2012, Sean stood out on several records but really shined on “Mercy.” Not only did he hold down the hook, but he also laid down with the most articulate wordplay in his opening verse.
After rolling up weed on his ass tray inside his ass state, “I work them long nights, long nights to get a payday/Finally got paid, now I need shade and a vacay/(And n—-s still hatin’), so much hate I need an AK.” Sean keeps his verse shorter than his usual. Yet years later, it still resonates with his fans as one of his strongest introductory guest verses to date.
“Holy Key,” DJ Khaled Feat. Big Sean, Betty Wright & Kendrick Lamar (2015)
When DJ Khaled called on Big Sean to throw down on “Holy Key,” he didn’t realize that Sean Don would be responsible for the most controversial record on his Major Key album. This verse will go down in history for playing a role in supporting Sean’s on-going beef with Kendrick Lamar. “Holy Key” was the second record that Sean used to fire sub shots at K. Dot nearly three years after their infamous collaboration “Control” caused mass hysteria in hip-hop.
“Woah, I hear a little bit of me in all your favorite rappers/You know it’s true, bitch, I need respect due.” Sean doesn’t call out Kendrick by name, but it did elevate the negative tension between both of them before Sean fired more shots on “No More Interviews.” Big Sean also spits controversial lines about police brutality, religion and racism. “Father help us, police doing target practice with real bodies/Mamas in the streets, crying, standing over a still body/N—-s over stressing, we under investigation/Every day off to the races, can’t f— with you if you racist.”
“Slight Work,” Wale Feat. Big Sean (2011)
Big Sean has his own handful of club bangers, like “Bounce Back” and his Nicki Minaj-assisted single “Dance (A$$).” After he dropped his debut album, Finally Famous, Sean jumped on an uptempo collabo with Wale similar to “Dance” that became a hit in strip clubs across the world called “Slight Work.”
The MMG rapper had already struck gold by turning a police siren into a creative loop, but the record got even more exciting once Sean Don was added into the mix. Sean’s verse still remains one of the most underrated guest spots of his career.
“Slight Work” gave him the chance to scream F the world and everyone in it that doubted him, all while he makes it rain crispy C-notes on a fly model twerking in front of him. “Under 25, living the f—in’ life/White America said I’d be doing 25 to life/And just for that, I’mma blow 25 tonight.” Now at age 29, Sean continues to moves up in the rap food chain with more features just like these.