Big Sean’s career has truly taken off in the last few years. 2015’s Dark Sky Paradise shot straight to No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart. Fast forward 2 years later and his new release, I Decided., has followed in the same footsteps. However, he seems much more calculated and serious these days. His approach this time around is less commercial than some of his other previous radio hits. Big Sean is clearly more concerned about the bars and content.
“Light” featuring Jeremih speaks from a reflective point of view (one of Big Sean’s strong points), proving why he has earned the right to be one of Hip Hop’s premier acts. He gave us a glimpse of the mellow aggressiveness we could expect on I Decided. with the triumphant “Bounce Back”. Big Sean is clearly here to win, even if it looks like he’s losing. However, “No Favors” is the song that will really have fans and haters talking alike. The production sounds like an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. Big Sean carries the first half of the song, before Eminem comes in to add his fiery verse. His tone on this song isn’t as animated as we have come to expect from him, but it fits well on this song.
On “Jump Out The Window”, he nonchalantly flows about a love tale that finds him admitting he’s falling in love. This is hands down one of the most memorable songs on the album. Thankfully, Big Sean’s voice doesn’t sound bad when he turns to rap singing. Don’t mistake it though. Two minutes into the song, he takes it back to rap for those that think he may be getting too soft. “Moves” will likely be a club anthem, although it’s barely over 2 minutes long. “Same Time” featuring his girlfriend Jhene Aiko (as their duo Twenty 88) is even shorter and offers more as a sultry interlude than a full song.
“Voice In My Head/Stick To The Plan” is arguably the most interesting track on the album. Big Sean seems to be battling with himself at some points. He also decides to switch up his flow towards the end and raps extremely quick. There is an even an eerie reference to suicide here. A Big Sean album wouldn’t be complete without its signature uplifting track though. This time, he offers several towards the end of I Decided. Perhaps the most poignant is the rousing “Bigger Than Me” featuring The Flint Chozen Choir and Starrah. The latter end of the song features a heart to heart talk with his mother.
Family is what really drives the core of Big Sean’s music. He took somewhat of a risk this time by dialing back on his commercial success to release a more gritty project. Big Sean isn’t your typical Hip Hop artist though. By the looks at his first week album sales, it seems as if he made the wise choice.