Unexpected Great Verses: Big Sean - Holy Key


It's been a while since I looked at an unexpected great verse. The last was T.I. on Swagger Like Us.  I think we need to look at another one. Mainly because people keep saying Big Sean can't rap. Big Sean only does pop. Big Sean is a list of things, a rapper is on the list. Sit around people, I'm going to tell you about the time Big Sean out rapped Kendrick Lamar. That's right, Big Sean out rapped Kendrick Lamar. No, I'm not talking about Control. I'm talking about the track Holy Key from DJ Khaled's album of the same name, so let's break this verse down.

I'd like to start with the hook sang by the timeless Betty Wright. Only because, well it defines the song. The hook is as follows:
And I'mma celebrate it for a long time
The drama couldn't break me, now it's all mine
Surrounded by my angels and we all shine
Holy, holy, holy, holy key
There it is, the song is about God and overcoming the drama and negativity in life. Celebrating life through all the nonsense. Now let's get into Big Sean's verse.
Straight up, late nights mixed with early days, it'll probably be that way until the Pearly Gates.Stress weighing on me, they want me to nervous break, these hoes showing fake love when I prefer the hate.At least if you real then I have to respect it, realize the energy you give is what you manifested.So understand we positive as could be, the vision is still intact, the show is fresh out of seats.
Classic Big Sean intro, but he's already got the theme of the track. Pearly Gates, he's under a lot of stress. He would prefer people to just hate him instead of lying and pretending they're friends. Instead Big Sean will stay positive and hope that brings positive progress and happiness into his life. He may take huge chunks of time between albums, but the vision is still there and he'll keep selling out shows. Okay, nothing crazy so far.
Boy it's never going south 'less we down in South Beach, Khaled on the jet skiis, preaching what you believe in. Everything fast 'cept the food, watch what we eating, if it add a couple years to our life, then we might go vegan
Khaled's album, have to show some love. Before he got bigger again Khaled really had been on a weight loss journey. Before he (rightfully) called out Billboard for giving Tyler The Creator number one he really did preach a lot of positivity. This is before Khaled started acting wild. Big Sean was right at the time. Khaled was preaching what he believed in and it was showing up in his life, his career was reaching new heights. Now we're going to get into the nasty parts of this verse.
I hear a little bit of me in all your favorite rappers, you know it's true, bitch I need respect due.Now or later, either way I'mma take it, just like it's fuckin' taxes. 
Midwest rappers don't get a lot of credit unless your name is Kanye West, but the midwest sets a lot of trends or elevates styles and never gets credit for it. Bone Thugs N' Harmony started the fast rapping and singing in verses. Then Twista took the fast rapping to a new level. While Nelly elevated the singing and people acted like he really didn't have some bars. Play "Say Now" if you think I'm lying. Big Sean is no different. The style of rapped called hashtag rap isn't new. A Tribe Called Quest did that. But, we aren't going to sit here and pretend Big Sean did not have everyone doing. Ludacris, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, and just about everyone else you can think of copied that style when Big Sean had a few hits from it. Some of them such as Luda, who I like, got upset enough to write a diss track when Sean mentioned how he had to adapt because everyone else started using it. 

Despite that, Big Sean gets no respect in the conversation of good rappers. People defend Rick Ross dropping eight garbage bars on features that have nothing to do with the track all day. They say "well Ross puts together good albums." Like his music or not, Big Sean can put together an album. There's a reason the time between Big Sean albums is so long. He isn't just putting together a bunch of songs recorded around the same time to be an album. He's actually crafting a cohesive project. Sean is signed to Kanye West and you have to think he's been taking notes on how to create an album that flows. But his respect, he'll get it sooner or later, like taxes. Because the US Government always gets their tax money. Ask Wesley Snipes.
No wonder I'm on fire, I done been to Hell and back bitch. Lately I been living life in detachment, I practice seven spiritual laws and cut off distractions. We been all in the Hollywood Hills, and never been acting, Detroit gave me an accent and Christ gave me his passion.
I'm actually going to count "Hell and back" as a double entendre. Big Sean has been through some things. Watching his grandmother die, right as his fame was starting to peak. He's been in some rocky relationships. Lost some friends. But, Big Sean also started out as a gospel rapper. Went on to make songs like "Dance (ass)," which aren't exactly Christian like. He probably lost a little faith in there somewhere. Despite that, here we are with Big Sean coming full circle rapping about God again. 

Big Sean has seen a lot of things a lot of people never did. He's seen the best parts of being famous in Hollywood and never had to be actor to do so. Not a lot of people can say that. He got his accent from Detroit. But, Christ gave him his passion to chase his dreams. This track is more like, an evolution of Big Sean. Gospel rapper, to artist struggling for respect to someone who has found their niche and can go back to gospel rapper. Not saying that's his next move or anything but he's comfortable with it.
Father help us, police doing target practice with real bodies, mommas in the streets, crying, standing over a still body. Niggas over stressing, we under investigation, every day off to the races. 
A quick prayer, nothing like a DMX prayer. In short, being black is hard. Black people still get murdered by the police with no repercussions at a ridiculous rate. But when Big Sean recorded this verse it was seemingly every day someone else was being murdered. Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, all seemed to happen back to back. That kind of stuff can stress people out. Meanwhile black people are no more likely to do crime than any other race and less likely to commit a lot of crimes, but we're incarcerated at a higher rate. Sometimes it does feel like you're under constant investigation even when you haven't done anything. A police officer followed me for thirty minutes the other day. I'm not the only person that would be afraid in that situation.
Can't fuck with you if you racist. Beat your ass until you purple, they can't even tell what your race is, doctor King meet Dr. Dre, except this doctor lost all his patience. Have you tied up in a basement with you and your partner facing adjacent. Until you deposit payment or reparations.
Big Sean doesn't fuck with racist. It's that simple, he wants his reparations too. Also, another double entendre. "Doctor lost all his patience/patients," 
If you shoot me then you gotta deal with a holy me, it feel like I'm finally free and unlocked my spirit with the holy key
Hat trick with the double entendre. Have to deal with a "Holy/holey" Big Sean. Silly, but a Big Sean way to end a verse. Say what you want, Big Sean is going to be Big Sean. He killed this verse, and the whole track.

A lot of people are going to say I'm lying and Kendrick Lamar had the better verse. I'm going to quote Jay-Z here and say "He's not nice just because you don't understand" Kendrick Lamar has been taking shots at Big Sean for a long time, even if people won't admit it. He a whole track leaked where he took shots at Sean's flow, who he's dating and why he'll never be respected. This was clearly a verse where Kendrick said a bunch of bullshit with the voice changers, and took shots at what Sean had just said. "I don't resonate with the concept of love and hate, because your perspective is less effective and rather fake," did Sean not just open his verse with bars about love and hate. "So what you look up to? Fame and fortune, bitches, Porsches, sources with designer thing," Big Sean's album Finally Famous and the fact that he was on "Mercy," a song expensive sports cars. Then Kendrick spent a bunch of time how he was living in the fourth world which is really the Matrix which he assembled like a Rubik Cube and he's the King of Rap. We gotta start calling Kendrick out when he just says a bunch of bullshit. The same way we do when J. Cole heats up like leftover lasagna. It just so happens, Big Sean had that fresh lasagna this time.

You can check out some of my fiction at 12 AM Fiction or follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast.
Unexpected Great Verses: Big Sean - Holy Key Unexpected Great Verses: Big Sean - Holy Key Reviewed by Darrell S. on Monday, September 09, 2019 Rating: 5

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