The concept Big Sean had in mind for his fourth studio album I Decided is clear from glancing at the cover: The two sides of the Big Sean coin are set to clash. Throughout the album’s 50-minute runtime that’s exactly what they do, clash, and frustratingly so.
For an artist who is presented as glitzy, smiling and well-kept, sonically Big Sean likes to revel in darker tones and moodier content. That juxtaposition was what made his last album Dark Sky Paradise such a surprise, and the quality of the songs he presented made it a pleasant one. On I Decided, Sean doubles down on that aesthetic as he seems to languish on all his life’s ills: relationship woes, his obligation to pay his mother and family members back for raising him, race relations, society’s woes (he’s no Donald Trump fan) and everything in between. The world is crumbling around Sean Anderson, and the weight of that weighs on him like never before.