Big Sean's last solo album, Dark Sky Paradise, found the rapper in a tough position, which was the reasoning for the name of the 2015 project. Around the release of Dark Sky Paradise, he was in a great space as a respected rapper who has created memorable moments time after time. However, his album reflected a young man who was dealing with darker days while being in what some consider to be a career utopia. Those darker days came in the form of his grandmother passing away. In turn, Dark Sky Paradise was a reflection of Sean's mood and feelings in contrast to his successes, which came off as one of his most vulnerable works to date. On his latest effort I Decided, that is not the case as he attempted to create a narrative that was not fully fleshed out through the entire album. Because of this, the listener is left feeling empty despite him pushing forward some well-constructed tracks. 

The album features appearances from Jeremih, Migos, Jhene Aiko (half of TWENTY88 with Sean) and more. Jeremih appears on "Light," which finds the production mimicking the grooves of Eddie Kendricks' "Intimate Friends." The drum-less track finds Sean speaking on how he improvises in various life situations he's faced with. The vibe of the track comes off as a motivational piece, and could easily replace the actual intro to the album with no question. From there, we move into "No Favors" which features one of the most aimless and extremely cringe-worthy Eminem verses heard in a while. Although there is a Detroit connection between the two artists, the feature does a major disservice to the point Sean is attempting to make with this song– not allowing anyone to ask him for any type of courtesy. It feels as if this Eminem verse was a favor that went sour, mainly because of the references to rape, as well as a reference to beating Mi'chelle (Dr. Dre's ex-wife). That could do more to harm Sean than help, and let's keep this all the way real: no one wants to hear that sh*t in 2017 besides Eminem fans.

A stand-out moment on I Decided comes in the form of the Metro Boomin-produced track "Stick To The Plan," which audibly blossoms out of "Voices In My Head." Big Sean encourages listeners to move away from negative energy and stick to what their goals are and even makes a declaration that he vows to get this generation and the next two out of debt, which currently has 8 in 10 Americans in a financial chokehold. What the listener should pay attention to on this track is how Sean adapts to the gradual switch in beats-per-minute. He even manages to deliver a memorizing flow in the last 20 seconds. Metro Boomin's eerie harpsichord-driven production on "Sacrifices" featuring Migos also serves as a stand-out moment, mainly because it bridged the gap between the two acts and simultaneously complimented both of their styles. Because of that, the long-awaited collaboration between Migos and Big Sean was definitely worth the wait.

Joints like "Inspire Me" and "Sunday Morning Jetpack" find the rapper becoming extra-reflective, which serves as a refreshing ray of sunshine in a hyper-sexualized money-driven barrage of music made available to listeners daily. "Sunday Morning Jetpack" reminisces on times where he had family dinners on Sunday, as well as the first time he heard Killa Cam, which seemed to have been a major boost for him. These tracks also find him speaking to his family, mainly his mom, which has been a focal point at the end of a few songs on the album. Well really, the lack of him speaking to his mom– missing her phone calls was a point of focus in the undefined narrative that soon fades into obscurity as each song gets played.  

In comparison to Dark Sky Paradise, Big Sean's latest effort I Decided is a far way off from the level of discipline he displayed on the former. There were moments that felt stale and repetitive, and could have hit the cutting room floor altogether. While the lack of discipline is not necessarily a glaring fault for this project, the unfocused nature of these well-structured tracks do not lend credibility to his declaration in the form of the album title.