It's weird for me to think that most people know Big Sean because of his oddball hit "I Don't Fuck With You." But given that IDFWU is triple platinum and a nostalgic jam like "Memories Pt. 2 (feat. John Legend)" has gone relatively unnoticed, I guess that's the situation were in.
Sean's debut album, Finally Famous, was the album that made you think "Yes, this is the successor to Kanye. He's the rap grandkid of Jay Z."
With bangers like "Dance (A$)" and "I Do It" getting you to peak hype and actual rap ballads like "Memories Pt. 2" and "Wait For Me" rounding out the work's emotional palette, you knew that Finally Famous was a real album. Not a mixtape. It was a rare trait (and still is) for rapper's to produce an album's worth of content with genuine emotional and musical diversity that maintains the key quality of actually being good.
While I'll spare you all my extended commentary on Big Sean's discography since then, it's fair to say that Travis $cott has eclipsed Big Sean as Kanye's chief successor. But the parts of Kanye that we really love, that guarantee of a lengthy, diverse album, lives on more in Big Sean than any of the G.O.O.D. Music golden children and I Decided. is a pretty good example of that.
The album starts with "Intro," a dark message about the passage of time and letting life slip away. But as you can guess, Sean doesn't let that downbeat attitude hold him or his audience for too long. Moving right into "Light" featuring Jeremih, Sean reminds of you his come-up, his finesse, and of course the lasting success that's allowed him to do so many things like "do it big" and reflect on the problems plaguing the American black community (even if it's from a bit of a lofty angle).
"Bounce Back" follows and it's one of the higher points of the album, showcasing Sean Don's lyrical gymnastic skills over a Detroit-reminiscent beat. "No Favors" has a bit of a novelty to it, similar in its dark style to "Bounce Back" with a frankly hilariously tone-deaf Eminem feature ("Fuck you lookin' at, hater?/I saw-dem-eyes, like an ass raper"). Yikes, dog. Cool if you're looking to feel nostalgic about Eminem but probably not worth throwing on your playlist.
"Moves" is the dope single you've already listened to. But after that comes the surprisingly sweet "Same Time, Pt. 1" which features TWENTY88 a.k.a. the duo name for Jhene Aiko and Big Sean. It has their signature glossy feeling about it that manages to be romantic and offputting at the same time like the musical equivalent of putting lipstick on a wax sculpture. "Owe Me" manages the same feeling of uneasy romance that's becoming the best part of Big Sean's style.
The thesis of the album comes out in its best song, "Sunday Morning Jetpack" featuring The-Dream. "Thanking God for all my setbacks/Cuz he's the reason I'm able to get back... I feel like I sent the prayers up and got blessed back/ whoa." Big Sean has spent the album reflecting on his "champagne" lifestyle, sometimes with a wink and a nudge and other times with a mournful regret, but none of it matters because, once again, he has remade himself, hopefully even better than before.