‘I Decided’ By Big Sean Album Review: Decides Nothing
On Big Sean‘s fourth studio album, I Decided., the Kanye West protege takes his deepest dive into self-reflection since he began his professional career six years ago. Aided by smooth production from several top billed-producers including Metro Boomin, Key Wayne and Travi$ Scott, Big Sean brings his traditional sonic form that his fans revere and expect. The album has made its way to number one on the Billboard chart, the second Big Sean album in a row that has done so during the first week of it’s release.
There is nothing particularly interesting about the album’s beats despite the contributions from the industry’s top names. Big Sean’s voice is still funneled through his nasal passages and his flow is no different than it was on his first album, Finally Famous. The only thing different about this album is that there is no distinct club banger.
The intro to I Decided., begins with a monologue from an older man over a whispering choir and the sounds of a sleeping city. In a prayer, the man wishes he could go back in time to treat his family with respect, serve as a better role model, and get a new job. At the end of the song, the man is hit by a car and dies mid-prayer. On the next song, “Light,” the man is reincarnated as Big Sean, who has decided to take control of his life. The rest of the album is supposedly a letter from young Big Sean to old Big Sean, and a promise that he will not allow himself to fall victim to fame’s ills or, somewhat paradoxically, the rut of routine.
Is it an interesting concept? Slightly. Is it one that Big Sean sustains for the full 50 minutes of the 14-track album? He barely makes it through the first ten.
To be fair, the first time the album’s concept is abandoned is when fellow Michigan rapper, Eminem, vomits an absurd verse about murdering Jamie Lee Curtis and running over Ann Coulter with a Land Rover, a Lamborghini, a Hummer, and, finally, the Road Runner. While Big Sean may be a fan of Eminem’s ability to rhyme words that don’t actually rhyme, I don’t see Sean telling the living legend that his verse doesn’t match the album’s concept, let alone the concept of the song.
While the first third of the album is admirably more self-reflective than any string of songs that the rapper has ever made, Big Sean relapses to his natural state on “Moves” – graphically rapping about having sex with harems of young women.
“She make that back move, she make her titties move,” he mumbles into the microphone. Big Sean has made a career out of rhyming a word with itself – on multiple songs he has ended every line of a 16-bar verse with the word “bitch.” Somehow, he ends “Moves” by reminding us that he has always taken care of his mother. Putting down all women and, in all seriousness, showing love to one’s mother at the same time is a rare talent. Bravo.
On “Halfway Off The Balcony,” Big Sean can’t decide if he wants to explore his newly found introspective side or be blatantly misogynistic as he raps, “I realized time’s the most valuable, actually, so I’ma call my favorite girl and she gon’ bring that ass for me.”
There is no doubt that fame brings with it it’s own demons, but Big Sean’s sincerity about these fears is called into question whenever he snaps back into his old machismo punch lines. He certainly possesses the talent and support necessary to make an introspective album but he hasn’t fully committed to it on I Decided.
Be brash, or be bashful? Be a comedian, or be a philosopher? Be shallow, or be deep? Big Sean has a couple of decisions to make.