By Jon Fuchs, Music Director
[Def Jam; 2017]
Key Track: “Light”, “Moves”
Oh, right, Big Sean is a thing; It’s kind of hard to remember when the Detroit-based rapper has little to no personality to fall in love with. He’s kind of like the bottom feeder of modern rap; taking Lil Wayne’s corny lines, Drake’s confident and suave attitude and pretty much every other rapper’s flow, Big Sean borrows a few elements from everyone to create something dry and unoriginal. Even his fun singles, including “Dance (A$$)” and “I Don’t Fuck with You,” feel old and uninspired, never breaking new ground and feeling no different if they were performed by another, more interesting artist.
I Decided., his fourth studio album, is a little different for him, though. It’s Big Sean’s attempt at the dark, moody atmosphere that’s trending through artists like Bryson Tiller, The Weeknd and Post Malone. But instead of doing anything new with this sound, Big Sean just repeats it over and over again.
I Decided. starts off promising with “Light,” a slow, dark track that has thought-provoking lines about racial division and police brutality; something different from Big Sean’s usual work. Lines like “Hood ni**as takin’ chains, slave master take our names / 5-0 take the shot and young souls take the blame” are different from Sean’s usual lines, making this one of the best tracks he’s made. These high hopes are suddenly ruined with “Bounce Back”, which sounds like the usual generic mess Big Sean is known for making.
Tracks like “Jump Out the Window,” “Owe Me” and “Halfway Out the Window” see Sean trying to do his best Drake impression, with a monotone, one-note vocal delivery and instrumentals covered in used 808s and rattling hi-hats. They travel in one ear and out the other, immediately disappearing from the listener’s train of thought. One of the more interesting tracks, “Moves,” is textually pleasant and exciting, but overall the track doesn’t feel moving enough to keep the listener’s attention.
Big Sean tries to change his look to become darker, more personal rapper, but it just doesn’t work. It’s not that I Decided. is a terrible album since it gives the listener good flows and good production from the likes of Metro Boomin and 808 Mafia, but everything else about it feels completely plain. Just like the rest of Big Sean’s discography, I Decided. is weak.