Photo courtesy of Def Jam Records
Story by Breshaun Oglesby / Contributing Writer
Sean Anderson, known more popularly as “Big Sean,” has seen his fair share of ups and downs since he first appeared on the big stage as a 2010 XXL Freshman. While many would acknowledge that he was talented, critics often criticized Sean for his “corny” metaphors and mediocre content. This is the reason why many felt that he shouldn’t be grouped into the same tier with the likes of Jermaine Cole and Kendrick Lamar.
Fast forward 7 years later, and the Detroit MC has undoubtedly silenced the haters. Coming off of his 2015 platinum album, “Dark Sky Paradise,” Big Sean looked to build on his success with a more uplifting and positive album.
“I Decided” is Sean’s fourth studio album, laced with 14 tracks and led by certified-gold single “Bounce Back.” The album includes features from Jeremih, Migos, The Dream and Sean’s girlfriend, Jhene Aiko. However, it is hip-hop veteran Eminem who ultimately delivers the best verse on the album.
“I Decided” is a concept album centered around redemption. The album cover displays two pictures of Sean, the left side depicting him in his current state. The right side depicts Anderson as an old man. The old man symbolizes a much wiser man, telling a younger version of himself all the things that he should do better the second time around, now that he has been granted a second chance at life. The album title is derived from this concept, as the rapper talks about how his relationship with God and his overall change for the better when he finally “Decided.”
Coming from someone who has been a major fan of Big Sean since his debut album, ‘Finally Famous,’ I can honestly say that this is his most masterful and complete project. He steps out of his comfort zone and raps about everything from his newfound romance with Aiko to police brutality.
On “Light,” he directly addresses the killings of unarmed African-Americans by stating,
“You know, take the fame, take the crib. Take our cars, now we
gotta take the train. Hood n*ggas takin’ chains, slave master take
our names. 5-0 take the shot, young souls take the blame. Man
but they can’t take away the light.”
Anderson even takes a page out of hip-hop icon Tupac’s book by dedicating a track to his mother, titled “Inspire Me.” Ultimately, every song brings something different to the table, yet stays consistent with the album’s theme. Such cohesion is something that Sean has definitely struggled with in the past. The project is also very relatable, as every individual has looked back on a situation they’ve gone through and wished they could have been granted a second chance.
Overall, “Sean Don” delivers a project for the ages with “I Decided.” It is evident that he was locked in during the entire making of this album. If you were not rocking with Sean before, it is almost certain that you will after listening to “I Decided.” At age 28, he has already proven to be one of the best MCs in the rap game, and he is coming for the Hip-Hop crown with this one. The scary part is that he hasn’t even peaked yet.
My Top 5 Tracks:
- Jump Out the Window
- No Favors (feat. Eminem)
- Inspire Me
- Sunday Morning Jetpack / Voices In My Head
Overall Rating: 4.5 stars/ 5