Turns Out Big Sean Is Extremely Mediocre at Acting, Too

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Plus more highs and lows from the world of rap this week, including a batch of must-hear tracks to start your year off right.

Big Sean
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Pitchfork writer Alphonse Pierre’s rap column covers songs, mixtapes, albums, Instagram freestyles, memes, weird tweets, fashion trendsand anything else that catches his attention.


Big Sean has found another lane to be mid in

Over the holidays, Big Sean was on my mind. Not because of the recent song where Chief Keef raps about picking Big Sean up with a chopstick. It was because I learned that he has a recurring role on the BET sitcom Twenties as a zen, vocally unplugged photographer named Tristan. It’s a mediocre show—helmed by Lena Waithe, who is not new to mediocrity—that the algorithm has been putting in front of my eyes for months. I finally gave in. Given its mid-ness, Twenties is the perfect fit for a rapper whose music only inspires shrugs followed by someone saying, “It could be worse, I guess.”

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The series, which wrapped up its second season last month, is a low-stakes comedy about three women who are navigating professional and romantic obstacles (shades of Insecure, but less fun). Big Sean is the love interest of Nia, an aspiring actress. They meet in a yoga studio, where he uses the pickup line, “Thank you for deepening my stretch.” Then comes the worst first date proposal since Common tried to woo a woman on “Break My Heart” by telling her she would have to do the dishes: “I’m going to the helipad tonight to look at some stars tonight if you wanna roll?” Big Sean delivers the dialogue in what he believes is a smooth and sexy R&B-album-monologue voice, but it’s actually about as creepy as J. Cole’s sex raps. In later episodes, his subplot involves Nia being unsure if she wants to date a man who is difficult to communicate with because of his refusal to go back on the grid and buy a cellphone.

To be fair, though, Big Sean is far from the worst rapper-turned-actor. But the bar is low; I’ve sat through the Game in the cursed Belly 2, which, despite the title, is not actually a canon sequel to Belly. The real issue in Twenties is the writing, which gives Big Sean dialogue so cringey that I’m not even sure a more charismatic actor could have pulled it off: There’s one episode where he says he’s so “different” from other Black dudes because he wears moccasins, and another where he whisper-screams at Nia, “I don’t wanna be a slave to technology!” Maybe the next time I watch Sean it’ll turn out better, though given what he’s been working on, that doesn’t seem likely. According to a recent interview, his next role just might see him reprising his role as a pampered animated pooch in the sequel to the 2019 Netflix movie Dog Gone Trouble.


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