Hip Hop’s affable cousin has returned. Although Big Sean has never released anything mind-blowing, people have an affinity toward him because he seems like a nice, cool guy. Recently, he announced he raised $100,000 for the Flint Water Crisis, which took place in his home state of Michigan.
Big Sean’s first two albums consisted mostly of party songs that were fun in their charming guilelessness. However, on “Dark Sky Paradise,” he proved his ability to make slightly more serious music with songs like “Blessings” and “One Man Can Change the World.”
The opening track of “I Decided” is “Light,” a soulful groove with a melodic feature by Jeremih. It sounds smooth and colorful. A few more tracks throughout the album follow this trend, including the all too short “Same Time Pt. 1,” featuring “TWENTY88.”
Metro Boomin produces three songs on the album: “Bounce Back,” “Voices in My Head/Stick to the Plan” and “Sacrifices.” These are three of the best songs on the album, for that very reason. His beats draw attention to themselves, taking center stage and forcing artists into the secondary. Metro’s dominion over the current texture of hip hop is astounding, reminiscent of Timbaland a decade ago.
On the singles “Bounce Back” and “Moves,” Big Sean raps in a droning monotone. This decision to sound disinterested cost him his most alluring aspect: his charisma.
Reading the tracklist, the Eminem feature seems like a strange choice. Eminem is a pioneer for complex rhyme schemes and clever wordplay. Sean is not. The 44-year old man taps into his “Slim Shady LP” irreverence and makes references to ass rapers, murdering Jamie Lee Curtis, urinating on Fergie, and fucking Ann Coulter with a Klan poster. Eminem himself says it the best, “It may be disturbing, what I’m saying’s cringeworthy.”
Kanye West and the rest of his GOOD Music compadres seem on a mission to make The-Dream relevant again after his claim to fame, “Cookie Jar” by Gym Class Heroes in 2008. His feature on “Sunday Morning Jetpack” could have easily been replaced by a number of different pop singers: Chris Brown, Miguel, etc.
“I Decided” is full of Big Sean making attempts at profound introspections, and a few actually land. He raps “Overthinking ‘cause my job is way more than a salary” on “Halfway off the Balcony.” He raps “The question isn’t do he love ya/The question is do ya love yourself?” on “Jump Out the Window.” He raps “Sometimes it ain’t about what we did or didn’t do/It’s about what we gettin’ through” on “Owe Me.”
The album’s closing track, “Bigger Than Me,” features the Flint Chozen Choir, once again paying respect to his home state and drawing attention to the ongoing crisis. Throughout the album he humbly thanks God for being so blessed. Even if some of his lyrics are cheesy and “I Decided” is uneven and dull at times, he seems like a genuinely good person. Maybe Sean’s place is to remind us not to take music so seriously and not to pay attention to reviews written by some pretentious college student.