Death of the Critic

I Decided. - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich


Big Sean had ambition with I Decided. While it does sound a lot like the Big Sean we are used to hearing, it had another layer that I’ve been wanting out of his music for a long while. He tries to grasp at something, but it is as effusive as his lyrics as it slips from between his fingers. It is an album that I’ve heard before, that we’ve all heard before. Just never out of Big Sean.

Taking more than a few cues out of
Drake’s playbook, I Decided. wants to bring the rapper into a softer and more grown-up era. He’s apparently fed up with fame and is tired of paparazzi and one night stands. He just wants to be able to call a girl to his hotel so she can sneak in and have sex with him. But he doesn’t want anyone else to see her besides him, lest people find out. He says that he wants to avoid the limelight, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from most of the tracks here, which simultaneously decry his massive fame while patting himself on the back for how great his songs are. It’s masturbatory self-congratulation, Big Sean looking at a picture of himself the whole time.

This ego is nothing new;  not only is it a mainstay in the hip-hop industry, it is what Sean has built his success off of. He is good at making catchy, if vapid songs that beg for your attention but offer nothing in return. He did no favors to himself by inviting Eminem onto “No Favors” because he quickly shows the difference in technical and lyrical ability. While Sean can drop lines, contrasting his relatively simple bars and rhyme schemes with the complexity and relentless beat of an Eminem verse shows exactly what league Sean is in. This short feature by Em dominates the album by simple virtue of it being a small Em flow. It’s on an entirely different level.

Yet Sean does take a few short steps forward. I was fond of “Light” with its dropped out, minimal production that let him breathe a bit more than he normally does. “Bounce Back” is fun in its generic-ness, following the standard recipe for a hip-hop banger that I didn’t mind listening to. “Jump Out the Window” and “Sunday Morning Jetpack” are both solid tracks that break his formula, if ever so slightly.

It isn’t a
bad album. It’s a Big Sean album. It just didn’t do enough to make a unique mark. It is an album trapped in its own average sound that is trying to claw its way out by copying others, but that route doesn’t contain the success he’s looking for.


1. Intro
Light (Feat. Jeremih)
Bounce Back
No Favors ft. Eminem
Jump Out the Window
Same Time Pt. 1 (Feat. Twenty88)
Owe Me
Halfway Off the Balcony
Voices in My Head/Stick to the Plan
Sunday Morning Jetpack (Feat. The-Dream)
Inspire Me
Sacrifices (Feat. Migos)
Bigger Than Me (Feat. Flint Chozen Choir and Starrah)

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Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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