Big Sean’s “I Decided” Album Review

big-sean

TRACKLIST

1. Intro
2. Light ft. Jeremih
3. Bounce Back
4. No Favors ft. Eminem
5. Jump Out the Window
6. Moves
7. Same Time Pt. 1 ft. Twenty88
8. Owe Me
9. Halfway Off the Balcony
10. Voices in My Head/Stick to the Plan
11. Sunday Morning Jetpack ft. The-Dream
12. Inspire Me
13. Sacrifices ft. Migos
14. Bigger Than Me ft. Flint Chozen Choir & Starrah

FAVORITE TRACKS: Light, Bounce Back, No Favors, Moves, Same Time Pt. 1, Owe Me, Halfway of The Balcony, Voices In My Head/Stick To The Plan and Sacrifices.

Finally, I get to talk about one of my favorite artist. Some say he’s corny (idiots). To me, Big Sean is the furthest thing from corny so please stop with this blasphemy of a statement. Sean has shown he has what it takes to be one of the game’s elite. (He’s Elite, No Debate) The 28-year-old musician had to put an insane amount of work in early in his career, which led to him getting signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music. His hard work did not stop here. Big Sean’s first official studio album, 2011’s “Finally Famous,” which featured the likes of Chris Brown and others, reached a peak position at #2 on US Rap and Hip Hop charts. Next, 2013’s Hall of Fame offered up even more artist collaborations with a peak position at # 3 on the charts. Once his position was stable with collaborations on his albums with Drake, Tyga, and Asher Roth, among others, Big Sean began dipping his toes into producing. Self-producing his third album, 2015’s “Dark Sky Paradise,” is now certified platinum, proving Big Sean is here to stay. “Dark Sky Paradise” was a massive and hard-earned leap forward for Big Sean. When pressed, you could make arguments of Big Sean being the best in the game or at least you can put him in the same conversation as King Kendrick and Jermaine. The album was also unapologetically mean. Of course, its breakout hit was “I Don’t Fuck With You,” but the same bitterness was applied across the LP to foes and exes alike.  Now Sean has blessed us with a long overdue, highly anticipated project, “I Decided.” This project features production from many collaborators from Kanye West, Amarie Johnson, Metro Boomin, DJ Mustard, DJ Khalil, Detail, Travis Scott and more. The conceptions that challenge Sean as an artist, “I Decided” seeks to push past the boundaries of a “one size fits all” style genre in today’s game.

Big Sean is so underrated. I think people choose to look over him way too often. He can go bar for bar with any rapper, yes I said it. Sean Don can go bar for bar with all of your favorite artist and the best of them. It’s known that he does have lyrical ability but also musically, he has the ability to make absolute quality meaningful music. As we look at all of Sean’s projects, they’ve each have gotten more emotional.  This new album might be his most emotional to date.

The album starts with an oh so relaxing positive vibe on “Light,” which features Jeremiah, showcases Sean’s raw lyrics that give strength and hope in a world filled with struggle. This is a very good way to start off an album if you ask me. It sets the tone of what to expect, at least I thought. The next track is the dark and lead single “Bounce Back,” which as of January 24th reached Gold status selling 500K units sold since being released. Sean was smart with having this as his lead single because this track was so “Big Sean.” My only issue was with this as a lead single, was that it was kind of misleading of the emotion that I Decided brought. Like “Bounce Back” sounded like it belonged on Dark Sky Paradise but I suppose it works out on this project just fine. Other than that, “Bounce Back” has some serious high energy. You can tell the song was made for commercial success, meaning that it can be enjoyed in many different ways. Perfect for the gym, your weekend “rager” or just to bump in the whip. I personally enjoy its energy, but someone might enjoy his message of being resilient and some might enjoy the track for the beat.

Continuing on, we arrive at “No Favors,” where Big Sean hits us with some serious heat followed by a SLIM SHADY APPEARANCE…. (YES I WAS THIS EXCITED WHEN LISTENING TO THIS TRACK AND HEARING THE RAP GOD POP UP). Eminem leaves his mark on “No Favors” quite nicely. His verse was beyond vulgar, repulsive, and whatever words you believe are necessary to describe his verse, but it was dope! With “No Favors,” we have a track reaching for updated sounds meshed with the vintage rap sound; the track is a really solid work of art. This was probably my favorite song off the album. When Sean first came out, these were the type of tracks that he made till Drake sort of stole his style (whoops). (S/o Reuben for the Reminder) I love these kind of songs man, songs in which Sean completely loses himself in the seriousness of the beat. On the verses, Big Sean is really rapping showing off his ability to be this witty/clever rapper with nothing but heinous bars. This is my favorite Big Sean; I believe he’s at his best when he is rapping like this. I would prefer someone else on this track, but at the same time I could never complain that I got to hear an Eminem verse.

“Jump Out The Window” had somewhat of an angry and frustrated tone. It was an okay cut, not one of my personal favorites but I don’t mind it.  It has a slower pace which relies on vocals to emphasis the stress that is felt within the song. This frustrated track is followed by a little bit more of the vintage styling of Sean with “Moves.”

“Moves” was the album’s second single and it received great feedback from listeners. From “Moves” we lead into “Same Time Pt. 1.” It says that the track is featuring Twenty88 but if you actually are hip to Sean and his bae, Jhene Aiko, they together are Twenty88. Their chemistry is undeniably amazing. This snippet of a track was such a tease and has me excited for the next Twenty88 project.

The Twenty88 teaser track the subject matter is switched over to the lover turn rival resentment story with “Owe Me.” This song reminds me of a Drake track so much. Possibly its due to Sean’s melody on here in which he killed. (Maybe he did Drake, better than Drake? Kidding chill out Patients of Marvin’s Room) I loved this track though.

Sean keeps things interesting with “Halfway off the Balcony” where he kind of raps about the stress of a successful career. It’s a gloomy track that’s kind of depressing but of course Sean makes it sound GOOD. While it might be the most blah song (the dullest) on the album, you cannot deny that it is one of the most challenging tracks to put together.

On the album’s tenth track, “Voices in My Head/Stick to the Plan,” Sean raps,

“Voices in my head sayin’ I could do better Voices in my head sayin’ that I knew better I done seen this shit happen a hundred times on the regular But I still crossed the line like I’m blind (damn) Voices in my head saying I could do better You always do the same shit”

In a later verse Sean raps about having suicidal thoughts:

“Voices in my head attacking what I’m thinking Bullet to the head might be the way to free it If I leave my body I can free the spirits Swear to God my death of fear just keep on shrinking Wishing I could go back to the nineties back when I was dreaming Me and my dog was on a mission like we Kel and Kenan”

I Decided” is about what Sean would do if he could re-live his life with the greater wisdom he now feels he has about the consequences of his decisions. With this track, the lyrics take on a new meaning. Rather than just being a reflection of his current state of mind, they represent what Sean would be thinking if he’d let his life take a different path than the path he has chose. I loved this track because it’s concept and it is super relatable. We all have or had those nights where we are up late contemplating some of these similar thoughts, I know I do.

“Sunday Morning Jetpack” is a track that is well suited for reflection and giving thanks. It’s a great way to follow up to “Voices In My Head/Stick To The Plan.” The hook on “Sunday Morning Jetpack” goes:

“Thanking God for all my set backs ‘Cause he the reason I’m able to get back This feels like my Sunday morning jetpack Feel like I sent the prayers up and got blessed back, whoa Feel like I sent the prayers up and got blessed back This feels like my Sunday morning jetpack, yeah”

Sean went from suicidal thoughts and contemplating the decisions he has made to giving thanks to God and his prayers being answered and in return God continues to bless his life. Having The Dream on this track singing the bridge reminded me of Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam” from TLOP. Kanye did have a hand in production and Big Sean did state on the Breakfast Club the Kanye did give him a few key suggestions on several songs.

Next on the album we slide with ease into “Inspire Me.” This was a very laid-back cut dedicated to Sean’s mom. Cool track and dedication to Mom but “One Man Can Change The World” was way better, just saying.

Shifting gears, we have the horror film-esque sound with the utilization of various sound effects; Sean presents us with “Sacrifice” featuring Migos. Big Sean Quavo and Offset show off their pure vocal talents to create a tune of trials one often experiences through the climb from the down. There is so much about this track that makes it hip hop gold! For instance the song is beyond catchy, like extremely catchy. Big Sean provides us with a dope verse and chorus that is easy to rap along to. Sean’s verse is not the best lyrically, but it definitely does its job in appealing to the listeners. The contrast of styles though is what really highlights this song. You have Sean’s aggressive lyrics, Offset’s flow, and Quavo’s charm and Quavo just being Quavo is what really makes this song so golden but let’s not forget the real MVP, Metro Boomin. This man literally makes beats to only hits. He makes trap beats sound like classical Mozart pieces and I LOVE IT! I was really feeling this track as you can see. This track definitely is tied with “No Favors” and “Voices in My Head/Stick to the Plan” as my favorite song off the album. Also, on a side note, why does Takeoff never get asked to hope on these features when someone asks for Migos? Like how do these conversations go when you ask for Quavo and Offset but not Takeoff.

Finally “I Decided” comes to an end with the vibes felt on “Light” with “Bigger Than Me,” featuring The Flint Chozen Choir and Starrah. This was a great way to close out the album with some uplifting vibes. I think its kind of cool how this is like one of those songs feature during ESPN’s First Take and during some the NCAA and NBA games featured on ESPN also.

Conclusion:

Big Sean’s I Decided had a lot going on, with majority and almost all of it being good. So let’s face it, the album has conflicting styles. Some tracks are high energy, while others are suicidal sounding, super chilled vibes and it’s an emotional roller coaster that I actually appreciate. Throughout, Sean goes from relying on others words, to thinking he knows answers, to borderline giving up on life. The album is truly a therapy session in the form of music. Another key is Sean knows himself. What I mean when I say this is more than anyone in the game, Sean knows his sound when it comes to picking beats. This is why I’m not surprised with what I hear production-wise. However, my one issue was with the features. We got features from Migos and Em. But where the hell was the rest of G.O.O.D Music? This was an issue I had with Kanye’s TLOP also. But fine, even if I let my thoughts on features slide, I feel since this is a super personal album there shouldn’t be any features anyway. Any who! “I Decided” is a very meaningful album to listen to, which is something that I cannot say for other projects I’ve heard in the last couple of months. It’s a well-rounded album full of deep emotion. With “I Decided” fans will find messages of hope and resilience throughout with a couple speaker knockers for the whip.

I PURPOSELY DID NOT MENTION ANYTHING ABOUT THE KENDERICK AND SEAN BEEF BECAUSE IT HURTS MY HEART..

 

Rating: 9.0/10

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