Big Sean- I Decided [Track-by-Track Album Review]
If you know Superego, then you know we don't usually cover major artists. We like to focus on underground rappers/singers who are building a buzz. Well Big Sean is sort of an exception. He's had some HUGE singles, HUGE features, and HUGE cosigns, but has yet to have a critically acclaimed "classic" album. You might be thinking, who cares about the critics? And I agree, but let's be honest... Everyone is a critic of everything! What I feel makes for a genuine criticism however is: 1.) how well you know the artist's catalogue 2.) How well you know their journey and 3.) How they have evolved musically. Oh wait, What a surprise! Big Sean's whole album is about how he has evolved, AND about his whole journey. So... whether or not you've listened to the album or not, take this journey with a "critic" who's seen Sean's journey since the "Supa dupa" flow days to the "I Decided" days!
1. Intro- The darkness on the track sets the tone. An old man's voice is introduced. This intro sounds like a movie, a short movie. It reflects the album cover and his video for "Halfway off the Balcony" perfectly. The chords segue to the next song. And its a beautiful interlude and transition.
2. Light ft Jeremih- Some really cool chords play a classic sample that is hard to recognize at first, but of course after a quick google search I realized its from Eddie Kendrick's Intimate Friends. Big Sean spits some conscious bars which is only right considering everything that is going on in America and in Flint, Michigan. You can tell Big Sean is taking a very spiritual and positive approach with this album. "Even if you take my life, you can't take the light".
3. Bounce Back- A banger for sure... but seems an untimely follow up to the previous track. Don't get me wrong, its a great record but woah.. what a transition. This is one of the singles off his album, so you've most likely heard it floating through the airwaves; solid track.
4. No Favors ft Eminem- Might be the 'hip-hop lovers' best song off the album. Bars on bars on bars on this one, and oh yeah Eminem is on it. Eminem's choppy flow works, but doesn't quite outshine Big Sean. Sounds like this beat was made specifically for Sean himself, his flow is natural on it.
5. Jump Out the Window- Suicide theme'd track based on a female. Never been a big fan of that theme, but Big Sean's melodic flow is amazing on this one. In addition the beat is real dope! The MarioKart reference might've sold me on this one too. This might be the happiest saddest love lost song of all time.
6. Moves- This is another single off of his album, this is also being played on the radio along with "Bounce Back". It's only right that Big Sean, who essentially blew up off his single "Dance (A**)", makes another huge record for girls to dance to. This song doesn't quite fit with the album's theme, but it is what it is.
7. Same Time, PT. 1 (feat. TWENTY88)- A duet between Sean and Jhene Aiko aka TWENTY88. Sonically this record is dope, but to be honest I've never been a fan of Big Sean's actual singing (his singing/rapping is more preferable). The song is super short, almost like an interlude, so it's definitely bearable; however in my opinion the album could've done without it.
8. Owe Me- Another song with Big Sean singing, but this one kind of works. On this one he's speaking on a female that cheated on him but is trying to get back in his life. The melody is catchy and Big Sean navigates the singing/rapping flow very well on this song. Probably won't revisit this song much when listening to the album but either way its a solid song.
9. Halfway off the Balcony- One of the standouts off the album. Everything from the production, the hook, to the verses is great; this track is A1. It's a personal and emotional song and still Big Sean manages to to keep his lyricism up; something that not many can do. "I realized when it comes to girls that chemistry means way more than anatomy" A line off the song that will sure to be in many instagram captions and bios.
10. Voices In My Head/ Stick To the Plan- This song is probably my least favorite off the album. I mean the song has great direction; it's a good concept. It's a 2 part song where Sean battles with the voices in his head and then he eventually comes to his senses and sticks to his plan. Unfortunately, the production doesn't really match the concept, especially on the second half of the song. This song could have been way better, but it falls short.
11. Sunday Morning Jetpack (feat The Dream)- Another emotional and personal song, something that Big Sean shows a lot of on this album. This is a vibe'd out song, almost sounds like an outro, which is maybe why it's close to the ending of the album. I like this song a lot, so I can only imagine this will be a favorite for his close family and friends. He does a lot of name dropping of family/girls and also bigs up God on this record. The Dream on the end of the track is a nice touch.
12. Inspire Me- This song is amazing. It has almost a Chance the Rapper mixed with Drake vibe; actually, a feature from either one of these artists would've fit perfectly. Either way Big Sean makes this song his own and owns it. The production is perfection and Sean kills it melodically. A great song to dedicate to someone who inspires you.
13. Sacrifices (feat. Migos)- What would a hip-hop album be in 2017 without a Migos feature. Big Sean pulls out the trio to bring this banger together. On first listen, I wasn't a huge fan of this track, but I must confess it grew on me ALOT. Big Sean's verse is monster and the Migos hop on the track and do what they do best.
14. Bigger Than Me (feat. The Flint Chozen Choir & Starrah)- Love the fact that in this song Sean is talking about how things are bigger than him and ironically he brought out a choir for the record. The choir literally makes the song bigger than Sean could've. This is a fantastic closing to the album and Big Sean ends it with a closing phone call with what seems to be his mother.
Total Rating: 7.9/10
Big Sean has a really solid album here with "I Decided", it fell just shy of an 8 out of 10. Although its not great enough to achieve the "classic" title, it is a good offering from Sean. His subject matter is thought provoking, his songwriting skills are great, and his production selection is impressive. If he continues to perfect his music making ability I can definitely see him making a classic album and going down as a legend.