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Big Sean's latest album has strong tracks but lacks cohesion

The self-proclaimed Top 5 Detroit rapper is back again with his latest work, "I Decided."

After three exceptional albums, Big Sean Anderson has come prepared to reintroduce himself to his fan base despite already having an eight-year tenure in the music industry.

"I Decided." is an attempt by Big Sean to develop his persona into something more than the "kid-wonder" that he was. Some may find this a joy, while some may not.

On a recent Jimmy Fallon show, Big Sean said "the album is basically a chance of having that wisdom of an old man when you’re young, and going through life and figuring it out." While this is very alluring, "I Decided." seems to stumble in the execution of that concept.

Big Sean enters with an intro track narrated by an old man pleading to God, saying how he wished that life was different. As cars zoom by in the distant background of the track he says, "I can’t keep living like this man," which leads beautifully into the next track, "Light," which features Jeremih. Here, Big Sean preaches about the hardships of discrimination and being resilient in the face of adversity. After that, the album seems to struggle.

Big Sean does well in delivering the content of each individual track; the issue lies in his ability to make the project flow seamlessly.

Tracks like "Bounce Back" and "No Favors" are appealing and bring forth the confident, not-so-nice-guy attitude of Big Sean, but they fail to be congruent with the sound of the album as a whole. Sean’s seemingly casual rapping needs Eminem’s sprinkle of anger to really get the message across on "No Favors." Although these tracks are good, they fail to fit the overall scheme of what Big Sean said the album was going to be about.

The same can be said about "Moves" and "Sacrifices." Both of these tracks are incredible as far as production but don’t necessarily fit into a certain category.

"Bounce Back" features incredible production tied with pretty good rapping that makes for a good radio hit. "Moves" features a beat that is attractive from start to finish.

"Same Time Pt. 1" is the shortest track on the album but is arguably the most sonically satisfying. Jhene Aiko and Big Sean’s voices are cohesive in a way that’s almost eerie. Their voices seem to merge and melt into one another. "Jump Out the Window" and "Halfway off the Balcony" are impressive due to Big Sean’s ability to deliver his classic and unique sound while also seamlessly incorporating aspects of the concept of his album.

The back end of the album is very well done. On "Sunday Morning Jetpack" he is forthcoming about how thankful and grateful he is toward God. "The Dream" provides great vocals on this song that seem to emphasize the melodic aspect in the same way that Jeremih does on the track "Light."

"Inspire" follows, and is a heartfelt dedication to his mother and her importance to his mission and his success as a rap artist and as a man.

"Sacrifices" is one of the tracks on the album that doesn’t necessarily fit the album in terms of the overall sound, but is fun to listen to anyway. Big Sean hits the track all by himself at the beginning and tears up the beat with serious bars. Truthfully, he could have killed the song himself, but the sound of Migos bringing their hyped Atlanta rap on to that track is impossible to resist and demands to be repeated.

It’s important to reiterate that just because these songs may not fit into the concept that Big Sean originally intended, that does not mean they are bad tracks at all.

Every song on the album is produced well and has its own unique sound. The diversity of the songs is obvious and altogether hard to miss. But this leads the album to sound more like a collection of good songs rather than a cohesive project with a goal or message in mind.

All in all, production is perfect. Kanye and Big Sean sprinkled their genius all over the beats of every track with some touches coming from Metro Boomin, Smash David, Yung Berg and HitMaker. Each beat was alluring before the showcasing of lyrical gymnastics, which was impressive in itself.

Joshua Thermidor is a senior at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.


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