Big Sean’s fourth and latest album ‘I Decided’ can only be described as a coming of age album. Based around the concept of self-reflection, the album is deeper than the rappers previous works and is, in some ways, an emotionally sobering experience.
Sean’s first track begins with a skit of an elderly man looking around at the carnage of the world, wondering what will be left behind for the next generation. This follows a theme of loss of love and lost opportunities that run through the album. This is prominent in songs like ‘Jump out the window’, that recounts lost relationships and what could have been done differently to salvage them. The visual for the song ‘half way up the balcony’ adds to this idea. The video once again opens with an elderly man before switching to present day Big Sean. Another cut back to the elderly man implies an older and wiser Big Sean, looking back on his life in the same way that he would look down at other lives from a balcony.
The album is not deep in a socially conscious way. Sean still features songs that are typical of his mainstream style, seen similarly with his song; ‘Moves’. The album is deep in a personal way. It speaks to the insight and hindsight that comes with the late twenties era. Tracks like ‘Bounce Back’ speak about second chances after bad decisions, with ‘Inspire me’ reflecting on and depicting Sean’s appreciation for his mother and upbringing. These two tones bring together mainstream rap and the deeper rap to show the reflection and decision making that comes in the late twenties and early thirties, the current age of Big Sean himself. The album has the feel of just being on the cusp of maturity.
With a feature from Eminem on the track ‘No Favours’, the album situates Big Sean just behind Eminem, on the verge of becoming one of the state’s finest rappers, both for mainstream and deeper rap.
‘I Decided’ see’s Big Sean develop as a rapper, coming a long way from his debut album ‘Finally Famous’, which was catered more to a mainstream rap scene with radio-friendly hooks. By contrast, this album fluctuates between deep and contemplating sounds while also portraying pretty standard rap album. It shows the life of a rapper/man of Sean’s age group, young enough to still want all that is spoken about in typical rap songs, but old enough to realise that better decisions could have been made and that there is more to be done if generations after him are to get ahead. Overall, it looks like there is much more to come from Big Sean, in a career that’s at its peak and appears to be onward and upwards.