Big Sean opened 2017 in a big way, with his album “I Decided” debuting atop the Billboard 200, the second time in his career he’s achieved such a feat.
Now, with the year wrapping up, the Detroit native looks to close it out in much the same way with the release of “Double or Nothing,” a collaboration album with producer Metro Boomin.
Together the two have created a 10-track album with tight rhymes, a strong variety of beats, and a laundry list of interesting collaborations with such artists as 2 Chainz, Kash Doll, and Young Thug, among others.
My initial reaction to the album is that it’s well produced with several solid hooks that will make you get your booty bumping on the dance floor. But, like other Big Sean albums, some of his rhymes might leave you scratching your head, wondering what he was going for with them.
I’ve been a fan of Big Sean going back to “Finally Famous,” and I appreciate that he’s had a lot of success. When you compare some of his rhymes to those done by other notable rappers, he leaves a little to be desired.
Lines like, “What goes around comes around, faster than fidgets” or “I don’t drink tap water, but got tapped phones” or even “And God blessed me like I got bad allergies” just sound a little like he’s trying too hard.
That said, though, he’s also got some real dope lines. For one you have to appreciate the fact that he’s willing to wade into sensitive waters, rapping about the water crisis in Flint, Mich., or touching on the NFL anthem protests with lines such as “I’m-a take that water from Flint, and I’m-a go up there to D.C; I’m-a make the president drink; he wouldn’t even let it touch his sink.” or “You couldn’t stop these plays even if I was ineligible, Kneeling like Colin Kaepernick if that shit unethical (Kap).”
The way he spits “True one, false move and that could paralyze your life, So understand, I’m the overanalyzing type (type), Panoramic views while I’m panning out my life,” shows a thoughtful connection between his vulnerabilities behind his self ambitions, too.
It shouldn’t be surprising that he mentions Flint, with his being a Detroit native and the fact he’s spent time and money helping out people struggling with getting clean water there. But, nonetheless, it’s a solid inclusion that makes you think about something that hasn’t gotten as much attention these days as it did in the past.
Big Sean isn’t the only person behind this album, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the contributions of Metro. Some of my favorite beats were on the tracks “Go Legend,” “In Tune” and “Who’s Stopping Me” which has a very cool Spanish feel to it. It’s the song that overall I’d say is the strongest on the album, with “Savage Time” coming in a close second.
Interestingly enough, though, while Big Sean’s rhymes are somewhat inconsistent across the songs, the same can be said about Metro’s beats. Some of them sound very cut-and-paste that you could hear on just about any typical hip hop album, but then when they connect, he hits it out of the park.
There’s a nice mix of guest artists, too, but they’re a noticeable secondary aspect to Big Sean’s contribution. They don’t take away anything from the album — they’re used quite well — but they’re just not an aspect that’s going to change your mind on this album. Which, means if you like Big Sean, you’ll like these guest rhymes, but if you don’t, you probably won’t.
That’s really, in the end, the best way to explain the album overall. It’s a complex array of samples, tracks and rhymes that don’t always hit their mark. Nothing here is going to make haters love it, and on the other hand there’s nothing that will make fans hate it, either.