"He's great – he's everything you imagine," the Grammy-nominated rapper says of West

By Nick Maslow
Updated February 16, 2016 12:30 AM
Dominique Charriau/WireImage; Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Kanye West wasn’t at the Grammy Awards on Monday – but his name was still a topic of conversation.

Following West’s latest Twitter rants – including comments on "white publications," his "personal debt," and Taylor Swift – rapper Big Sean shared a positive take on his mentor.

“He’s great – he’s everything you imagine,” Big Sean (né Sean Anderson), 27, told PEOPLE on the Grammys red carpet.

Then he gave credit to West for his first big shot in 2005.

“Like I always tell everybody, Kanye discovered me,” Big Sean explained. “He saw the potential in a kid who rapped for him at the radio station.”

Thanks in large part to his performance on that faithful day, Big Sean has gone on to become a Grammy-nominated rapper.

“Without ‘Ye, I probably wouldn’t even be here,” shared Big Sean, whose song featuring West and John Legend, “One Man Can Change The World,” was nominated for best rap/sung collaboration. “At least he for sure gave me that path, gave me that opportunity. Anybody who can see the potential, change a kid’s life like that, [has] gotta have one of the biggest hearts in the world.”

The Grammy honor is even more significant given the track’s personal meaning.

“I got the chance to mention my grandma in it, who is one of the first female black captains in World War II and one of the first female cops in Detroit where I’m from,” said Big Sean. “It’s definitely a special song. That’s why it meant so much to get that nomination, and it means so much to have ‘Ye on there with me and John Legend.”

Big Sean added: “My grandma’s voice is at the end of the song, so you can just imagine what that feels like. So hopefully I get that award and we boss up and put on for the city and just have a good time.”

He ended up losing the award to Kendrick Lamar, but as Big Sean told PEOPLE, scoring Grammys gold wasn’t his main focus.

“I told myself, ‘Win or lose, we’re winning,’ he said. “My album just went platinum. I got my mom out here with me. In life, it can go any way for you. The fact that it went up for me, the fact that I’m able to get to do what I get to do, I’m winning regardless.”