Big Sean’s “I Decided” – A Review

Apologies for the hiatus. We back now, though.

As of late, Big Sean has been one of the most successful rappers in the game.

His 2015 studio release, Dark Sky Paradise was one of his most enjoyable albums to date with songs like "Blessings",  "I Don't Fuck With You", "Play No Games" and "I Know". Lyrically speaking, Sean can hang with the best of them, but the most notable part of his career is the increased growth he displays with each album.

Earlier this year, Big Sean released his fourth studio album titled I Decided, and before I heard it, critics were already claiming that this was the best album of Big Sean's career.

I was skeptical about that because, these days, people like to throw words around like they don't mean anything. For click-bait purposes, many outlets tend to exaggerate things to get you to read or subscribe to their service/website/whatever. So, with that in mind, I listened to I Decided without much expectation. Especially since I wasn't too impressed with the two lead singles "Bounce Back" and "Moves".  My first impression was that these songs were okay at best. 

However, as I listened to the album, I started to agree that this was some of Sean's best work.

His lyrics and beat selection have improved. There are no headbangers per se, but the beats perfectly complement his lyrics and flow. On this album, Sean paints a picture of how he deals with women (Owe Me), his family (Inspire Me), his motivation (Sacrifices) and how he tries to juggle all of these aspects to maintain his success. As we listen, we realize that the term "success" means something different from what it meant to him when he first started (Bigger Than Me) his career.

Here are the album's highlights.

 

THE GOOD

No Favors (ft. Eminem)

Detroit in the house.

I like everything about this song. From the piano in the beginning to those old school sounds peppered through the track. Yo, lyrically, Sean goes in on this track.

I mean, it was expected given that Eminem has a habit of outshining people on tracks he's featured on. Both of these guys make this song a hit. If you don't like this song, I don't know what to tell you.

 

Sacrifices (ft. Migos)

A quick word on Migos:

Some people are saying that Migos are the poster boys for the new generation of hip-hop responsible for the shifts in the culture. I'm not quite ready to accept them as such, but when they rap like they do on "Sacrifices", it's hard to argue that the Migos aren't the shit.

Furthermore, Big Sean's verse is straight fire.

 

Voices In My Head/Stick To The Plan 

I like this song a lot. I don't know if it's because of the midway beat switch-up courtesy of Metro Boomin' or simply because of Sean's lyrics, but I've listened to this song more than I care to admit.

I think I like it because it's like a train of thought. Picture Sean taking a train ride in his own mind and things intensify as he goes along.

You know how sometimes your mind is on auto-pilot ("Voices in My Head" part), but then you take control/wake up and head in a specific direction with purposeful intent and focus ("Stick To The Plan" part)? If that makes any sense to you, that's what this song feels like to me.

I wish I were an animator. I would have made a cartoon short based on this song, man. It would've have been dope!

 

Halfway Off The Balcony

I like the lyrics of this track. They're deeper than the average hip-hop song:

"I'm hangin' halfway off the balcony
Overthinkin' 'cause my job is way more than a salary
Everything around me gold like I just practiced alchemy
I realized when it comes to girls
That chemistry means way more than anatomy
She mad at me, she been mad at me"

Put that on a mellow beat and that's a winner in my book.

 

THE BAD

There's no bad to this album. I mean, even tracks like "Moves" and "Bounce Back" eventually grow on you with each listen. There are a few tracks like "Owe Me" where Sean kind of sounds like he's singing, not like Drake or Childish Gambino, but harmonizing nonetheless. It's not bad at all. It works. 

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

What album is better between I Decided and Dark Sky Paradise? I don't know because they're both really good. I'll let you make your own decision on that, but if you liked Dark Sky Paradise, you'll like this too.

Sean was able to provide us with an album that is true to his style, yet still a little different, deeper and a little more innovative than his past work.


written by Joe Renegade

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