Although I DECIDED. is his fourth, Big Sean captures the hunger and enthusiasm of a newcomer on his new studio album. Rapping from the perspective of a reincarnated version of himself, Sean illustrates the ways in which he would live harder, be bolder and express himself more honestly if he made all of his decisions with the gift of 20/20 hindsight.
It's hard not to think of Chance the Rapper's 2016 breakout Coloring Book when listening to "Light," "Bigger Than Me" and "Sunday Morning Jetpack." Introspective, spiritual and peppered with sing-song delivery, Sean picks up where Chance left off and brings gospel rap from rarity to certified trend. But fear not: I DECIDED. isn't just some flimsy carbon copy. Deep, rumbling club anthems like "Bounce Back" and "Moves" are signature Sean, featuring the sporty delivery and waggish punch lines that longtime fans have grown accustomed to hearing.
Despite its unique and thoughtful concept, I DECIDED. isn't as cohesive as it could be. Eminem's guest appearance on "No Favours" has its clever moments, but for the most part is haphazard, bizarre and breaks the flow of the album. "Inspire Me" is nice enough, but Sean's gooey ode to his mom leans eerily close to Oedipal creepiness. And "Sacrifices" (ft. Migos) is fun, but ultimately shallow compared to the album's weighty storyline.
Still, Big Sean exhibits growth and wisdom on I DECIDED., and that's definitely worth a listen. This is a solid effort. (G.O.O.D. Music / Def Jam)