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We had the opportunity to speak with Big Sean about his recent collaboration with adidas Originals, his management deal with Roc Nation, Kanye West’s leaked shoe and much more.

Sean Michael Leonard Anderson, better known by his stage name Big Sean, was born in 1988 in Detroit, Michigan. Just 19 years after being born (let that sink in), Big Sean signed with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, followed by Def Jam in 2008, and most recently Roc Nation management earlier this year. It goes without saying that Sean has the right people in his corner. With his debut and sophomore albums behind him, he’s currently working on finalizing his yet-to-be-titled tertiary album. While many think an artist’s first projects are their standout, I’m confident Sean’s upcoming project will undoubtedly be his best work to date. He’s definitely off to a good start, with “IDFWU” and his relationship with Ariana Grande making him more of a household name than ever before.

Shot by photographer Robert Wunsch, we had the pleasure of getting together with Sean and styling him in some key pieces from brands like Fear of God, visvim, Kris Van Assche, Comme des Garçons Shirt, and more. While we had his attention we of course had to ask him about his recent collaboration with adidas Originals, his new management deal with Roc Nation, Kanye West’s “leaked” shoe, his upcoming album and more. See what he had to say below.

Congratulations on the recent release of your music video for “IDFWU” from your upcoming album, both the song and video have been doing extremely well. 

It’s one of my favorite videos for sure, probably my favorite. I like videos that have themes, you get to have fun with it, you get to play characters… “IDFWU” is football-themed, I’m playing the star quarterback for a high school football team, DJ Mustard is playing the running back, Kanye West is the coach, Teyana Taylor is the head cheerleader… E-40 is the commentator, suited up.

I’m truly honored to have all these people involved and the song seems to be doing pretty well so I’m happy about that. We’re just making sure all the other plays are right, as far as the music, and I’m just really excited about the video.

What was is like working with E-40?

He’s a legend, he was one of my favorite rappers growing up. My older brother used to play his music for me all the time back when I was a shorty… I was like seven years old, eight years old listening to E-40, Tupac, Snoop [Dogg] and [Notorious] B.I.G.… It was great man, you could only imagine how it took my appreciation for him even further – he sounded better than he’s ever sounded.

Your Lion mascot makes an appearance in the video, which was designed by you and drawn by Miami-based artist Jason Seife. Have you guys worked together since? What was the inspiration behind the overall design?

Yeah, we’ve definitely worked since then on a lot of stuff – he’s somebody who’s actually really talented. I initially came up with the idea of a lion with a crown on it, inspired by the G.O.O.D. Music Jesus piece; that crown is legendary to me. I’m from Detroit so I automatically have love for the [Detroit] Lions and [Detroit] Tigers, and I felt it represented me and my Finally Famous crew really well.

It’s really a mascot for the whole Finally Famous crew, we’re just a whole bunch of friends who do different things. I’m a rapper; Key Wane is a big producer; Laurence Lamont is the director of the “IDFWU” video, it’s the first video he’s ever done, he’s a great screenwriter, a great director, and somebody who I believe in who has a bright future. We basically grew up together, we’re in the same crew and I gave him his first opportunity with this video and he killed it – it’s easily one of my favorites.

I recently came across an image of you and Gabe of UZI, are you guys currently working on anything you can speak about?

Me and UZI have definitely been in the studio, I’m sure you’ll hear some work from us soon. I’ve got love for UZI, both Gabe and Mike. Their vision is really tight, their just really cool and really creative. I like their work visually and I like their music, too.

Your collaboration with adidas Originals on the Metro Attitude looked great and did really well.

Thanks, man. I’ve done a couple collabs with adidas, so it was a lot of fun. I always wear the Metro Attitudes and I was always telling them how much I loved them, so they came up with the idea for me to do my own. They came up with some of the creative aspects of the shoe and of course we then had our own input too, it was a truly collaborative effort. This was the first time I had done apparel with them and all the things with the shoe and they sold out pretty fast so there will definitely be more work with adidas. Especially since I’m a global ambassador for the brand, I’m always doing shoots for them or modeling for them, or doing commercials.

You made headlines recently when you signed your management deal with Roc Nation, some people thought you may had left G.O.O.D. Music. What drew you to signing with them?

They’re visionaries and great businessman. It was just the perfect time for me, I thought it was the best thing for my career. Also, they’re really personally involved over there, Jay Z’s personally involved and Kanye of course. It’s more for the business side of things… I’m happy to be a part of the Roc Nation family and they’re just as excited to be a part of my career.

A couple weeks ago an image hit the Internet of Kanye on a plane showing someone the supposed adidas x Kanye sneaker. Have you seen the picture? Is there any truth to it? Is that the new collab?

I actually haven’t seen the image but I have seen the new shoe. I can’t say much about it other than it’s definitely better than the last one and more improved, just like everything else Kanye does.

Since we’re on the topic of Kanye, a leaked tracklist for his upcoming album also hit the ‘net and it had your name on it, as well as other artists like Eminem, Lana Del Rey and Theophilus London just to name a few. Is there any truth to the leak?

I don’t know. Nah, I don’t know. [Laughs]

With “IDFWU” doing as well as it is, has there been a release date set for your upcoming album?

We don’t want to set a date just yet, we’re just making sure everything’s right. It’s pretty much ready; you guys will get it as soon as it’s ready and we’ll be making that announcement soon.

Before your album drops, is there any chance for a mixtape? Or is the next project we receive from you going to the be the album?

I’m not saying I won’t ever do another mixtape, but yeah, my next project will definitely be my album.

What can you tell us about it?

It’s way darker than anything I’ve ever done, way harder than any album I’ve ever done. I’m pretty sure you’re going to like this album. The sound of it is definitely better than the mixtapes but it’s more of that type of intensity, high-level raps, and just not giving a fuck and going in.

Slide 1, 2, 3
Jacket by Thom Browne
Shirt by Off-White
Pants by Kris Van Assche
Shoes by Kris Van Assche

Slides 4, 5
Coat by Fear of God
Shirt by Comme des Garçons Shirt
Sweatpants by 3.1 Phillip Lim
Shoes by visvim
Glasses by SUPER

Slide 6, 7
Leather Jacket by Acne Studios
Shirt by Kris Van Assche
Pants by Acne Studios
Shoes by visvim

Most Clothing provided by Union Los Angeles.

Stylist: Chantal Drywa
Groomer: Amber Kerns

Brian Farmer is Highsnobiety's Managing Editor and is based in New York City.

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