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With ‘I Decided,’ Big Sean Chooses Maturity

3.5 STARS

By Jose I. Garcia, Contributing Writer

Big Sean’s 14-song album, “I Decided,” was released on Apple Music, Spotify, and most other music platforms on Feb. 5. The album features several collaborative acts including Jeremih, Eminem, TWENTY88, The Dream, Migos, and Starrah. While Big Sean garners plenty of A-list artists, he notably enlists Michigan’s Flint Chozen Choir for his track “Bigger Than Me.” Throughout most of his album, Big Sean treats his listeners to a survey of his inner troubles and the lessons he has learned by overcoming them.

While Big Sean’s success on the airwaves remains undoubted with tracks such as “Blessings” and “I Don’t Fuck With You,” Big Sean turns confidently toward reflection in “I Decided,” largely on his rise in the music industry. Big Sean’s career needs “No Favors,” and he knows it—it’s the title of the album’s fourth track. As the album’s name suggests, Big Sean has decided that he has become a success and can now only look down from the heights of his career. His boastful persona complements his grateful lyrics: He thanks everyone from his mother to God.

The album begins with a one-minute intro track that sets the retrospective tone and perfectly blends into “Lights, a track that only uses a light melody and Jeremih’s voice as the beat for Big Sean’s. Because of that simplicity, Big Sean speaks directly to his audience and leads them through his career’s winding path, serving as the light that illuminates the way. On this winding path, Big Sean admits that he has taken some wrong turns. In “Halfway Off the Balcony,” he realizes that a good life is about relationships and not about the superficial. “Bounce Back adresses Big Sean’s ability to recover from taking a wrong turn by getting back onto the correct path. He acknowledges that his rise to success has been difficult, but he perseveres through it all. In “Sacrifices,” Big Sean explains how every turn he made through the music industry forced him to leave behind free time, friendships, and even romantic relationships, all for the sake of becoming the success he is now. Together, these tracks poignantly mark the milestones that Big Sean has reached in his music career.

Clearly maturing as both an artist and as a person, Big Sean acknowledges that his influence can make a real impact on world issues such as Flint’s water crisis. On his last track, “Bigger Than Me, Big Sean features the Flint Chozen Choir to aid his home state creatively. Feeling a sense of duty, Big Sean’s foundation also made a contribution of $100,000 for the crisis. On a Jan. 24 appearance on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” Big Sean explained: "It's not even close to being over. That situation wasn't a natural disaster. It's something that should've been prevented and could've been prevented, so it's just disgusting to think about the damages that these families and even kids have to go through with the lead poisoning." As for the track itself, the resonantly collective voice of the choir gives it an ethereal sound that satisfyingly concludes the album and its concept.

While the concept of “I Decided” is honorable, Big Sean moves off message on “Moves” (“You gotta move / She make that back move / She made her titties move / I make the city move”), detracting from the full impact of the album. Additionally, the lack of variability in Big Sean’s cadence and the spliced sounds that are used as a beat make the track feel mediocre at best, and boring at worst. As a whole, however, the album proclaims that Big Sean is not afraid to explore his retrospective persona, despite the pressure for successful rappers to appear insensitive and hard. Big Sean moves in the right direction with this album by separating himself from the herd.

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