ALBUM REVIEW: ‘I Decided.’ – Big Sean

The rapper's fourth album is one giant leap towards him becoming a force to be reckoned with

| February 8, 2017

“I Decided.” album artwork courtesy of G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam Records.

Since the beginning of his rap career, Big Sean has been largely overlooked.  He’s carried the underdog chip on his shoulder ever since his “Finally Famous” days, waiting for Kanye West to release his first album under the GOOD Music label. With the release of his fourth studio album, “I Decided.,” Big Sean looks to assert his place as one of the best.

Big Sean has grown from a party rapper to one of the best storytellers in the business. We knew he was a storyteller. Even on his older mixtapes, Sean displayed some pretty incredible storytelling skills. Sean’s last album, “Dark Sky Paradise,” was a big hit and showed that he was capable of more than hit singles. The album was full of heart and connected deeply with fans. “I Decided” continues this, but has perfected it even more. It’s clearly his best project yet.

Sean’s forte has always been creating club and party hits — listen to almost any song off “Finally Famous” for confirmation — but “I Decided.” is new and different and will leave both dedicated and casual fans pleasantly surprised. The album shows the artist improving his flow to better fit the songs’ productions. The album isn’t completely new, however. The rapper does stay true to themes found in his old music, such as the heavy trap beats from “Bounce Back” and memorable lyrics like “Forward thinking yeah my mind is ahead of me,” from “Sacrifices” featuring fellow GOOD Music artist Migos.

Unlike Big Sean’s previous work, “I Decided.” makes listeners think. On his latest release, he raps about rebirth and being given second chances. At the end of the introductory song “Intro,” the speaker gets hit by a car; but it’s not as jarring as one would think.  Instead, it’s almost relaxing. This then flows into the beginning of “Light,” where Big Sean raps about trying to find the “light that’s at the end of the tunnel” and reiterates the theme of afterlife and rebirth.

Like everything else in the past few years, this album gets political.  Sean uses “I Decided.” to take a stance on multiple issues our society is currently facing, including police brutality and racism among other things. The song “No Favors” features an Eminem verse that calls out President Trump and political commentator Ann Coulter. Eminem’s verse overshadows Big Sean’s to a certain extent, which is something Big Sean has struggled with in the past but has massively improved on. Aside from political commentary and the existential, the rapper also delivers a touching tribute to his family on the song “Sunday Morning Jetpack.”

Longtime fans will appreciate the hard-hitting lyrics on songs such as “Moves” and “Sacrifices” while casual listeners and fans of good music will appreciate the production quality and the way it matches the flow of Big Sean’s verses on tracks like “Jump Out The Window” and “Halfway Off The Balcony.” More than anything though, this album will speak to people who believe in second chances, something Big Sean himself talks about on “Light” and “No Favors.”

In the past, Big Sean has taken a back seat to his featured artists, but on “I Decided.,” he excels at calling the shots. With his fourth studio album, Big Sean took a legitimate step toward becoming a force to be reckoned with in the rap game.

Rating: 3/5
Go Download: “No Favors,” “Sunday Morning Jetpack,” “Bigger than Me”
Similar Artists: J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West
Record Label: GOOD Music, Def Jam Records

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Category:Arts and Entertainment, Music

Stephanie Trefzger Stephanie started as a staff writer for the Niner Times in October 2015 and was promoted to assistant editor of arts and entertainment in October 2016. Her writing has focused mainly on album reviews and other musical topics, but she continues to expand her horizons. She is a senior and is double majoring in English literature and culture and German. When she is not writing articles, she is either people watching, reading, cooking, or updating her many social media profiles. If you're not sure of anything else, be sure that Stephanie is listening to music at any given time.

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Stephanie Trefzger Stephanie started as a staff writer for the Niner Times in October 2015 and was promoted to assistant editor of arts and entertainment in October 2016. Her writing has focused mainly on album reviews and other musical topics, but she continues to expand her horizons. She is a senior and is double majoring in English literature and culture and German. When she is not writing articles, she is either people watching, reading, cooking, or updating her many social media profiles. If you're not sure of anything else, be sure that Stephanie is listening to music at any given time.