Big Sean is a good guy. Everyone who’s consciously invested in the muses of contemporary hip-hop understands Sean’s character: a zealous and stalwart signee of Kanye West’s GOOD Music empire who hailed from the arduous streets of Detroit, Michigan; a guy who believably worked tireless hours by sacrificing social and family time in order to get to where he is today. But all who are a part of Big Sean’s core fan base need to come to this realization: the guy just isn’t a formidable rapper.
Rather than being a member of hip-hop’s current elite class (alongside names like Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, West, Young Thug, etc.), Sean Don deserves to be atop the upper echelon of corniness (alongside names like Logic, Macklemore, and Tory Lanez to name a few). On his latest double-team with Atlanta mega-producer Metro Boomin’, Double or Nothing, his corniness is simply unbearable.
This isn’t necessarily to say that “corniness” is an unforgiving trait that can’t be absolved. For instance, take Drake. It is undeniable that Drake’s most recent projects contain, at times, brash and banal lyricism (e.g. “How’s that for real?/ You toyin’ with it like Happy meal” off of 2016 track “U With Me?”). But he makes up for it with his impeccable melodic elements, choice of rich, memorable sounds and the aura surrounding his songs…
…Then again, consistent corniness is pretty cringeworthy when you think about it…
At times, it seems that whoever listens to the album can’t possibly curate a cornier lyric than Big Sean. Even if I were to record a song in which I rap the words, “Big Sean is cornier than corn on the cob,” it would still seem that Big Sean beats me in being more hackneyed (on opener “Go Legend,” he raps “Bitch, I sock you out yo’ socks (bitch)”). On the follower “Big Bidness,” a 2 Chainz-assisted track, Sean raps “What goes around comes around, faster than fidgets.” I mean, although it is corny, he is right. Like, have you seen those things? They go, like, really really fast. And of course, the one lyric that Twitter didn’t seem to let go was on “Who’s Stopping Me,” where Big Sean raps about a dream where he and an armed Rosa Parks smoke a blunt in the back of a Maybach. He wraps this line up by saying “it do feel good to be black in the back.”
Unfortunately for Sean, the only redeeming qualities of this project is the stellar production by Metro Boomin’. In the wake of his Grammy snub, Metro does not seem to show signs of slowing down. An interpolation of Nazaré Pereira’s latin mover “Clarão da Lua” shows a form of unfound inspiration. On “So Good” (the worst track on the project), Metro cooks up a perfect drum-heavy track that was sure to be made for Sean to spit clean bars, but unfortunately clouded by Sean saying, “If I could quit my job and fuck you all day, shit I would” and “Pussy so good, I never fuck you in the ass.” Other tracks like “Even the Odds” and “Reason” contain succinct instrumentals that include vintage Metro production.
There are not many people rooting against Big Sean. Many people, including myself, really want to watch this man succeed. However, it really is a shame that Sean has not seemed to reach the expectations that have been bestowed on him since his 2015 project Dark Sky Paradise (easily his most well-rounded project to date). Double or Nothing was a great chance to prove his worth with a top-flight producer, but, as usual, Big Sean mopped it.