By Lance Jordan, Sports Editor
Big Sean certainly has come a long way from his 2011 debut studio album, “Finally Famous.” From then to now, Big Sean has received numerous accolades for his songs over the years and has gone verse for verse with some of rap’s biggest stars. Now in 2017, Big Sean has blessed us with his fourth studio album, “I Decided,” which may have set the bar for rap albums in 2017.
There’s more to “I Decided” than its lead single “Bounce Back,” a catchier trap-influenced song produced by Metro Boomin. However, this isn’t a diss toward the song, as the boastful song about coming back after taking a loss to become better is an anthem in its own right, similar to his single “I Don’t F— with You” in 2015.
The album can be described as a conscious rap project, as well as a concept album, as Big Sean considers his present and also his future. The “Intro” goes further into the story, leading listeners into the rest of the album, which feels like a self-reflection on his success and struggles.
Big Sean calls on several big names for his latest release, including Eminem, Jhene Aiko, and Migos to name a few. In Sean’s track with Migos, titled “Sacrifices,” Big Sean and Migos kL<both reflect on the sacrifices they have made to become successful. In the hook, Sean raps, “I done made sacrifices, so many sacrifices I done gave up so much free time, knowing time ain’t free, [expletive] it I sacrificed it. My girl show me love, she know I made sacrifices.” And in Migos member Offset’s verse, he raps about finally giving up his thug life in order to live a more lavish, more exciting life: “I done sacrificed the thug life, diamonds shining ain’t no dull life, drop my top to get my mind right. Pull up in the ‘Rari loud pipes, I’m the don, my wrist a hundon.”
In one of the most talked about tracks on “I Decide,” Big Sean and Eminem assure listeners that they did not need any help to make it to the level they are at today. Sean leads with the hook, “Make it, make it, make it, boy, we gotta make it.” From there, Sean takes over the first verse, which is highlighted by his lyrics, “The D to Flint, kids who get sick with lead, others get hit with the lead”—which refers not only to the continuing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, but also to Detroit’s rise in homicides. In the second verse is fellow Detroit MC Eminem, who created a lot of buzz after appearing on the track, ranging from questions about his relevancy in today’s evolving rap genre, to his lyrics about Jamie Lee Curtis, to his lyrics about President Donald Trump in which he raps, “I’m anti, can’t no government handle a commando, your man don’t want it, Trump’s a [expletive], I’ll make his whole brand go under.” Eminem has gotten people talking, which he has always been a master at.
My favorite track, however, has to be “Bigger Than Me,” which features Starrah and the Flint Chozen Choir. In the track, Big Sean states that he wants to make his city proud and that money is not the only measure of success. In one of the most meaningful verses, Sean raps, “I seen people in the same place ten years later, man that pathetic, God talking to me telepathic like it only happen if you let it, I can’t spend my whole life looking at the same ceiling fan, when I feel like I ain’t got no ceilings man, if I ain’t special why I feel it then?”—a song with a conclusion similar to that of “One Man Can Change the World,” from Big Sean’s previous album “Dark Sky Paradise.” The “Outro” of “I Decided” features a conversation between Big Sean and his mother, in which they discuss how proud she is of Big Sean and his success.
Fans of Big Sean will definitely find this album enjoyable from start to finish. Some might even argue that it is his best project to date. Those unfamiliar with his music may find it to be the perfect jumping-on point, as there seems to be a little bit of everything in “I Decided.” When it comes to future rap projects in 2017, I believe Sean set the bar high with this project.