Dissecting Big Sean’s ‘I Decided’ album
By Patrick Battle
Big Sean released his forth studio album ‘I Decided’ just over a week ago. The album was released digitally to avoid being leaked. Sean Don is already exceeding expectations. Although it was expected to sell 120,000 copies its first week, I Decided actually sold 156,000 copies. It features Jeremih, Eminem, Jhené Aiko, The Dream, Migos, The Flint Chozen Choir & Starrah. The album was crowned number one, which makes Sean’s fourth consecutive album to debut in the top 5.
Similar to the rest of Big Sean albums, I Decided stands as a summary of Sean’s thoughts within the past two years. The album is based upon Big Sean feeling as if he got a second chance at life after regretting it all. Following the release of his album, Big Sean did multiple interviews to speak about his album including one with Power 105.1’s ‘Breakfast Club.’ In the interview, Sean spoke about his album in more detail. “I broke the album up, in my head at least, to like four different acts” said Sean. He mentioned that the first act was finding your strength, bouncing back from your losses, and realizing you don’t need any favors.
The album begins with sound effects as if someone is walking out in the streets. Under the sound effects there’s a chord being played. All of a sudden you hear an older gentleman saying, “God, I’ve been doing the same thing in the same place working the same job for 45 years.” The gentleman goes on to say how he feels he blew it all with his family and “her.” The gentleman continues to talk himself into frustration saying, “This job ain’t me man. This ain’t what I’m supposed to be doing in my life man.” As he says this, the sound effects of cars and horns are heard and then followed by a bang that goes into the next piece.
The first song you hear is “Light” that features Jeremih. In Big Sean’s first verse, he addresses his inspiration for the song, “Spent my whole life trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel. I should’ve realized it was inside.” The next songs on the track list are ‘Bounce Back’ and ‘No Favors.’ ‘Bounce Back’ recently topped Drake’s ‘Fake Love’ for number one in rhythmic radio while ‘No Favors’ (featuring Eminem) has landed at number three on the “Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks” chart.
The second act of the album enters into Big Sean’s love life. At the end of ‘No Favors’ is a skit where the older gentleman reappears as if he’s Big Sean’s conscious saying, “I know you feeling yourself right now, but I’m not sure she’s the one. I wouldn’t call her man.” Big Sean still calls the female. The skit goes right into ‘Jump Out The Window.’ This song plays as a small portion of Sean and Jhené’s love story. In the song, Sean speaks on having feelings for his friend who is being mistreated by another guy. Sean knows his friend deserves better and that he can treat her better, so he comes to the conclusion saying “I think I’m ready to jump out the window” as if he’s ready to try being together, as with him and Jhené. During his ‘Breakfast Club’ interview, Sean was asked if everything he said during this act was true. He answered honestly saying, “It’s all based off true stories. It’s nothing not true about it. Not necessarily every line, sometimes I fabricate things in my head. I pull the inspiration from real situations.” The second act continues with various moods and situations with the following songs: ‘Moves’, ‘Same Time pt.1’ (that features Jhené Aiko or TWENTY88), and ‘Owe Me.’
After we experience this roller coaster of love, the third act descriptively expresses the thought process we go through when everything in our life seems to be going wrong. This is the shortest act being the fact that it is only two songs: ‘Halfway Off The Balcony’ and ‘Voices In My Head/Stick To the Plan.’ Charlamagne asked Big Sean if he experienced suicidal thoughts in ‘Voices In My Head.’ When Sean admitted that he had, Charlamagne was shocked saying that he was one of the happiest and nicest people he knew. “I go through real sh** all the time man,” said Big Sean. “I’m not saying I was gon do it. I’m saying ‘yeah I thought about it.’” This must be referring to the timeframe when Sean experienced a public break up, and at the same time, someone broke into his home.
Big Sean credits his content in Act 4 for getting him through his lowest points. “God got me through that point. My family got me through that point. Unconditional love is something that is more important than anything. [It’s] something money can’t buy.” This act of the album includes ‘Sunday Morning Jetpack’ (featuring The Dream), ‘Inspire Me’, ‘Sacrifices’ (featuring Migos), and ‘Bigger Than Me’ which features The Flint Chozen Choir & Starrah. This act of the album is when Sean realizes what truly matters in life. ‘Inspire Me’ is a song made specifically for his mother. Sean said when she heard it for the first time she cried tears of joy. ‘Bigger Than Me’ stands as the wisest and most influential track on the album. The hook stems from Big Sean saying what it took for him to realize “This sh** is bigger than me.” The song ends with Sean having a conversation with his mom. Their conversation brings the project together when she says, “In a way I feel like I’m living through you. Sometimes it feels like I got another chance at everything.”
This is definitely the most thoughtful album Big Sean has ever produced. It contains skits, multiple voices, sound effects, and it tells a story of substance about how to approach obstacles and overcome them. More importantly, the album is very relatable. It begins on a bright note then transitions into the depths of depression and uncertainty. In the end, he rises above it all with family and loved ones.
View Big Sean’s full interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWthjEyE20o
Stream Big Sean’s ‘I Decided’ album today on Apple Music Spotify and Tidal