Admittedly, I’m not the most avid listener of Big Sean’s music. The last time I considered myself a “fan” of Big Sean was when he first released his debut album, Finally Famous back when I was a freshman in high school. Since then, I had honestly stopped listening to Big Sean, apart from Twenty88 and a few popular hits I happened to hear on the radio every now and then. When I started to see all the claims on social media about his work being slept on, I was eager to listen to his new album I Decided, and I was not disappointed in the slightest.
Light: Light is a great first track for I decided. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Jeremih’s music, so him singing the chorus was a plus for me. I appreciate this song because it emphasizes the words more than the instrumental or production. In this song, Sean really gets the chance to show off his lyrical skills against a minimalist beat. 5/5
No Favors: I’m honestly on the fence about this song. It has a great beat and verse from Sean. Eminem’s lyrics never fail to make me uncomfortable, but of course the violent, angsty white guy persona his thing. I know many people swear that Eminem’s a “Rap God,” and I’m in no way discrediting his talent. When it comes to wordplay, flow, and metaphor, calling Eminem a disturbed genius, a mad scientist wouldn’t be an exaggeration. Dismissing all his crazy, violent rhetoric and calling it art only goes so far. and I’m going to explain this is in the corniest way possible and say that I wish he would use his talents for good instead of evil. Overall I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I like this song, but I just have to get past some of the lyrics. 3/5
Jump Out the Window: Jump Out the Window is a cute song. It’s safe, generic, and not particularly memorable to me, but it’s a great song to listen to while kicking back. The lyrics are sweet and add a necessary sensitive relationship themed track that I’ve never known Big Sean to shy from. It’s a track that could potentially inspire many to shoot their shot. 3/5
Moves: Moves is easily one of my favorite songs on the album. The beat is amazing and the energy is unmatched. I will say however, that you can’t experience the full effect of the song unless you play it loudly…very loudly. The only negative aspect of this song is the length. The song is both short and fast-paced, making it seem more like an interlude than a full song. This and a couple other tracks deserve to be much longer. 5/5
Bounce Back: Bounce Back is another amazing track. It’s well-deserving of the position of the first single from the album. The lyrics, “Last night took an L, but tonight I bounced back” can be a source of motivation for those any situation in which one is likely to take an L; college, relationships, etc. This is probably the song I listen to the most out of the whole album. 5/5
Same Time Pt. 1: I have a love-hate relationship with this song. The fact that I like it so much makes me hate that it’s so short. The beat, along with how Jhene Aiko’s voice perfectly accompanies Sean’s bars is beautiful. If you’re lover of romantic R&B like me, you would definitely appreciate this track and will probably be just as disappointed in its premature ending. Same Time Pt. 1 is obviously meant to be a teaser a frustratingly short part one of a song with no part two anywhere on the album. It’s most likely that this is a preview of a future second Twenty88 project which will hopefully include the full version. 5/5
Owe Me: “I Don’t F*** With You” let us know that Big Sean can kill an angry breakup/bad relationship song. Though Owe Me isn’t nearly as extreme as “I Don’t F*** With You and not entirely the same subject matter, Sean shows a similar angst about an obviously failed relationship. I really like this song. It’s catchy, has a great beat, and I can imagine that many can relate to the emotions he expresses. 4/5
Halfway Off the Balcony: Halfway Off the Balcony is one of the best songs on the album. It includes a haunting, eerie instrumental as Sean reflects upon his new understanding of everything from life to relationships. Usually, this subject matter is discussed by rappers just starting in the industry and adjusting to their newly found fame and power. Big Sean has been in the game for a minute now, and explains his struggles with having the world at his feet, and how he sometimes indulges in the pleasures of fame self-destructively, and pushes away the people he cares about while doing so. 5/5
Voices in My Head/Stick to the Plan: In Voices in My Head/Stick to the Plan, Sean takes a huge risk that ended up working well. In the lyrics, he expresses his inner conflict while the listeners can hear that represent the discouraging “voices in his head”. About a third of the way through the song, the soft, tentative beat of Voices in My Head morphs into Stick to the Plan, with a more intimidating, aggressive tone. At the end, Big Sean speeds up his flow, showing off his capability to dabble between different speeds. Overall, the track is a unique, unconventional piece. I don’t think I’m familiar with Big Sean’s musical career enough to assume that it’s a sound he’s never tried before, but the style definitely sticks out from the rest of the album and it’s a nice shift that shows Sean’s versatility as a rapper. 5/5
Sunday Morning Jetpack: Sunday Morning Jetpack is a refreshing track in which Big Sean expresses his gratitude and love for his family. This song along with several others on the album shows how relatable and genuine Sean is. Though his part was brief, The-Dream was a great addition to the song. 4/5
Inspire Me: Inspire Me was a great, wholesome ode to Big Sean’s mother. I like that this song is upbeat and relatively energetic, as opposed to a slow tearjerker one would usually expect from an artist expressing his/her love for their mom. It’s a nice feel-good song that’s hard for anyone to dislike. 4/5
Sacrifices: In Sacrifices, Sean experimented with a few flows that differed from his usual chill, laid back tone. It disappoints me to say that I don’t like this song as much as I expected to when I saw that two out of the three Migos were featured. I appreciate Sean’s attempt to try on a fast-paced flow, but I can’t shake the feeling that the chorus and his flow is awkward against the beat. It’s not just him, though. Offset and Quavo’s flows didn’t seem to mesh well with the beat either. The beat itself is cool, I just wish that the rappers didn’t try to be so creative with how they rapped. 2/5
Bigger Than Me: Bigger Than Me ends I Decided on an inspirational note. In my opinion, it’s one of the best songs on the album. The lyrics reflect the pressure Sean puts on himself to succeed, as well as his attitude about feeling responsible to inspire the people from his hometown and help his family financially, which is a theme that is expressed in the album several times. One of my favorite parts the song is the featuring of the Flint Chozen Choir, which was not only a profound acknowledgment of Flint, Michigan (Big Sean grew up in Detroit), but it sounded good, too. Sean’s conversation with his mother at the end was a wonderful touch. 5/5
Big Sean has obviously evolved tremendously as an artist and I Decided makes this very clear. With this record, Big Sean showcases his artistic versatility while still maintaining the same down-to-earth vibe he conveyed in Finally Famous. I Decided really impressed me and renewed my interest in Sean’s music. Because of this album, I’ll probably listen to Sean’s other albums and catch up on all the great music that I’ve been missing out on. This album gets a 4/5.
What are your thoughts about Sean’s latest album, I decided?