While Big Sean’s past albums have lacked personality, innovation or motivation, his latest release marks a stark directional difference. I Decided is somewhat of a rebirth for the mostly club music-centered rapper.
The album starts with a novella of an intro. “Light” lays a smooth transition into the mood and piques the interest, showcasing Kanye influence. By track three, it becomes clear that this album is meant to demonstrate Big Sean’s diversity. However, his signature dance-rap beats are revisited on the single “Bounce Back,” the album’s most successful offering. “No Favors,” a highlight, features a powerful beat with lyrics to match.
Halfway through the song, Eminem throws out an insane solo which morphs into a breakout set of rhymes. This appearance is fitting: both rappers are Detroit natives, and while Eminem is nearing what may be the beginning of his final act, Big Sean is clearly looking to define his own era.
I Decided begins with solid hooks and excellent beats, but the middle of the album lacks definition and identity. Songs like “Jump out the Window” and “Halfway off the Balcony” have a unique mutual aspect. The songs lay out an internal conflict Big Sean is dealing with, joined with ill-fitting instrumentals.
Reaching the final stretch of the album, the dichotic track “Voices in my Head/ Stick to the Plan” snaps the energy right back when it finishes up with unexpected wild flow. The Dream’s appearance on “Sunday Morning Jetpack” helps to assimilate the listener to the harmonic vibes of Big Sean’s thoughts and memories until he is interrupted by a phone call from his mother. “Inspire Me” follows the call, which is later joined by tracks dedicated to those he respects.
I Decided features solid all-around production, but the middle of the album feels neglected and dull. The album has plenty of high points with standout features and quality lyrics; however, there are some inexcusably mundane pieces that detract more than contribute. While Big Sean’s request for a second chance should certainly be afforded to him, there is still much more to look for before saying that Big Sean is truly an innovative artist.