One of my favorite projects from 2017 is one I still listen to from top to bottom today. It’s the fourth studio album release from Detroit-native rapper Big Sean, I Decided. dropped February 3rd on GOOD Music and Def Jam Recordings.
There are some features on the project that deserve mention, including another Detroit-native, Eminem. Jeremih, Jhené Aiko, The-Dream, The Migos, and others are also featured on the album. Three singles were dropped prior the album release: Bounce Back, Moves, and Jump Out The Window. They are all great tracks in my opinion.
The album went platinum and it even debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200.
What I like about the album just from the jump is that it’s a concept album centered around the idea of rebirth and choices, hence the album title. The album art speaks to that as well, where two men are pictured, both supposedly Big Sean in different points in his life. One is a present day version on the left and then to his right is an older version of himself.
Sean explained the concept of the album saying, “[the title] means so many things. I feel like life is all about the decisions you make. This is what I decided. That’s why I put a period on the end of it—because this is definitive.”
Critics were all over the board with the project. One review, “While I Decided. may not light up the club like his past efforts, it shines a different, more nurturing light onto deeper parts of his soul.” Another critic, “I Decided. is a fresh statement that proves Big Sean is continuing to evolve. It’s a supremely listenable album, loaded with comfort-food hip-hop fit for booming club sound systems and earbuds on the subway alike. It’s also Sean’s most cohesive, personal work to date. Big Sean exhibits growth and wisdom on I Decided. and that’s definitely worth a listen. This is a solid effort.”
I saw Sean perform the album, well, most of the songs, and his other classics, in Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom a bit after the album dropped. It was awesome. I wish I knew more of the songs at the time though, but it was really early after the release to learn the project from top to bottom.
If I had to pick a favorite track off the album I would choose either Inspire Me or Bigger Than Me. Inspire Me is dedicated to his mother and it’s just a sweet song. Bigger Than Me is about realizing the bigger picture and both songs honestly are great ones to sing along to. They just get me hyped. Also great for a shower playlist.
Overall this has to be my favorite Big Sean album to date. I love a TON of his songs individually, but this album together is more cohesive in my opinion and it just speaks to me for whatever reason. I love seeing artists progress and prosper and that’s exactly what’s going on with Sean. I remember seeing him open for Wiz Khalifa in 2010 or 2011 at Illinois State University, and nobody knew who he was...except me. I knew him from his collaborations with Mike Posner. What happened to him?