Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ask Men: Big Sean Interview

Big Sean Interview
"When you’re a trendsetter instead of following the trends, you really don’t give a f*ck about anything." 

At 16, Big Sean grabbed the attention of hip-hop kingmaker Kanye West by freestyling for him at a local radio station. West later signed the budding rapper to his G.O.O.D. Music collective. The Detroit native has since built up a significant musical repertoire, working with notables ranging from Drake to Lupe Fiasco, as well as a reputation for a diverse signature style. He’s as comfortable dressing up in Marc Jacobs suit separates as he is kicking back in Air Jordan sneakers. On the eve of his debut album Finally Famous (6/28 on Def Jam), Big Sean talked to AskMen about Motor City fashion, (never!) retiring his hoodies and raiding Kanye’s salivation-inducing closet.


Big Sean on his personal style

Sowmya Krishnamurthy (SK): You've dubbed your personal style the "reincarnation of a Detroit player." Define what this means.
Big Sean (BS): A Detroit player is somebody who sets trends and is on top of their game at all times. Detroit players bring a certain style to the game, like fur coats -- I’m rocking a pink mink fur coat in one of my new videos -- and just foolin’ and having fun.

SK: For those who may not be familiar, explain what makes men's style so unique in Detroit.
BS: For me, personally, Detroit is a melting pot for everything. We get the best from the East Coast, West Coast and down South. Being in the Midwest, you get the best of all worlds and add your own flavor to it. It’s just a certain soul that Detroit has from [legendary hip-hop producer] J Dilla to Motown.

SK: You exude both casual and upscale looks really well. Explain how you strike a balance.
BS: Sometimes I feel like putting on a blazer with just a T-shirt. Sometimes I feel like putting on, straight up, a Christian Dior suit. Sometimes I just like rocking tank tops and sh*t like that. It’s really just about how you feel -- your style is just an extension of you. When you’re a trendsetter instead of following the trends, you really don’t give a f*ck about anything and just do what you feel.

SK: What one item in your closet can't you live without?
BS: Probably my Rolex. I love my Rollie! I think it’s just classic.

SK: Are you a sneakerhead? How big is your collection?
BS: Hell, yeah! Probably a couple hundred pairs. They’re all over the place, though. I have some at my Mom’s house in Detroit, I have some in L.A. and I have some in suitcases, chillin'.

SK: How do you organize and categorize your sneaker collection?
BS: They’re kind of everywhere. I need to do that, preserve them. I waste a lot of money buying the same pair of shoes.


Big Sean on lessons from Kanye West

 SK: Your mentor, Kanye West, is undoubtedly one of the most fashionable men in music. What have you learned from Kanye style-wise?
BS: I’ve learned that whatever you want to do is cool. I think that’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve learned from him about fashion. You always have to remember that you’re an icon and whatever you do is going to be remembered. Can your look be immortalized? Jimmy Hendrix’s boots are in a museum; what will I have to put in a museum?

"You don't have to wear big-ass throwback jerseys all the time. "
SK: What effect do you think Kanye's bold fashion choices have made on hip-hop. Have they raised the bar for rappers?
BS: I think Kanye brought a whole new style to the game, and he made it cool to be yourself. You don’t have to wear big-ass throwback jerseys all the time. You can wear polos. I think he opened up the gates and was like, “Yo, man, it’s cool that you want to dress like this.”

SK: If you could snag anything from Ye's closet what would it be?
BS: Probably the whole closet. There’s so much sh*t in there that it’s really hard to pick just one thing. He has hella, hella, super-crazy, ridiculous amount of clothes.

 Big Sean on men's fashion today

SK: With this album, your style seems to have evolved to include more tailoring and suiting. What advice do you have for young men who may be hesitant to trade in their collegiate, 20-something wardrobe for something more refined?
BS: Man, don’t be scared! I think it’s fresh when you can alternate and rotate your style. You can put on a suit and look fresh, you can put a tank top on and look fresh, you can put a button-up on and look fresh, and so on and so forth.

SK: Speaking of which, is there an age when men should finally retire the fitted hats and hoodies?
BS: Nah, man! If you want to be 50 years old and wear a hoodie, do it, man. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. I think it’s all about your comfort zone. That’s what’s most important. F*ck what people think. I might still like the same hoodies I rock now when I’m 60, and I don’t want want to be looked at like a d*ckhead. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people wanting to wear hoodies when they’re old or whatever!

SK: You seem to always have a grasp of what's new and upcoming in fashion and accessories. So tell us, what's the next untapped brand we should be checking for? Now would be a great time to shout them out.
BS: The next untapped brand you should be checking for. Let me see. Let me see.  TI$A , Diamond Supply -- all that stuff is pretty good. A lot of people rock TI$A. They’re on the come-up for sure.


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