It’s been a few years, but Big Sean has realized that it ain’t all “Marvin and Chardonnay”. On this, his fourth studio album, Sean is in his own mind, probing the dark recesses that keep him up late at night. It is an introspective album, following in the same vein as his last album, “Dark Sky Paradise”. This does not mean that “I Decided” is just a simple of extension of “Dark Sky Paradise” however. It is a growth, like Sean kicked the door open that was merely cracked while he was working on “DSP”. The whole album has more of a low-key, darker vibe to it. His voice has more urgency to it, more weight behind it, this extra weight added by the success of “DSP”.
The intro has a eerie feeling to it, setting up the album perfectly. A man is speaking to God, asking him why his life seems to never be going anywhere, what it all means. At one point you hear him walk into the street causing squealing car tires, honking, and people yelling at him while he is seemingly impervious to what is occurring around him. “Bounce Back” the third track on the album, has all of the qualities of a low-key banger, one that you can listen to again and again without being overwhelmed by it or being annoyed by it. The hook “Last night I took an L, but tonight I bounce back” has an infectious quality to it that almost anyone who drinks can relate to. Nothing is worse than the feeling of waking up with a hangover and lots of regret, but you cannot dwell on what happened, you must keep going and persevere and try again.
As the album progresses it is clear that Sean is trying to convey to us a sense of urgency, that he realizes that it is time for him to show us that fame is not all it he though it would be, or that we believe it to be. Eminem’s verse on the album isn’t the best that we’ve heard from him but it brings back a certain Em that is in his darker world. It is an Eminem that many missed, although it is almost too little too late for him. The peak of the album, in my eyes, comes on the song sacrifices. Here Sean is at his most urgent, with a frantic flow, weaving in and out of bars with top quality. Having Migos on a song at this point is almost a guarantee that the song will be quality and this is no different. Quavo absolutely shreds his verse as well as hitting the chorus at the end.
Overall it isn’t the best work that Sean has ever produced, but it is a good piece to add to his collection. It will be interesting to see where he goes next, he has gone down this route of self-reflection for two albums now and a third would most likely put his fans off. At a certain point every artist must reflect on their success and what they have learned, but then they must continue to forge ahead and try new paths if they want to continue to be successful.