Big Sean Impresses with “Detroit 2”


Image credit Def Jam Recordings/ G.O.O.D. Music

Thomas Black, Reporter

After two years, the long awaited album “Detroit 2” from rapper Big Sean has been released, and it shows how much he has grown as an artist.  He has spent his time away reinventing himself, and this album is the product of his introspection.

A dark, psychedelic trap beat starts the album on the song “Why Would I Stop,” which provides the perfect atmosphere for Sean’s lyrics about his success.  As the song progresses, he moves from discussing his origins to how different his life has become, creating contrast for the listener.  Additionally, the title alludes to the point in his life where he had lost his passion for music, which suggests that he is now out of that phase, and enjoying life much more.   

The next notable track from “Detroit 2” is “Deep Reverence,” featuring a verse from the now deceased rapper Nipsey Hussle.  The lyrics delve into deep territory, allowing Sean to explain what has been happening in his life outside of the public eye.  He raps “I aint think I had a thought of suicide in me until life showed me all these different sides of me.” over trance-inducing eighties synths.  This lyrical subject matter carries into the song “Harder Than My Demons,” on which Sean discusses coming out on top of his mental health struggles. -This is a very high energy track; the beat has much more bounce than many other songs in the genre. -Sean is now finished rapping about his personal struggles, and the next portion of the album begins.

The songs “ZTFO,” “Lithuania,” and “Full Circle” are standouts from the midsection of “Detroit 2.”  Although at first listen, “ZTFO” may sound like just another generic trap song, its lyrics discuss mindfulness, which is very rare in the current state of the genre.  It also features ad-libs from Travis Scott, which act as a preview for the song “Lithuania.”  In “Lithuania,” it is almost as if the song was originally Scott’s, as his sonic preferences dominate the instrumental.  Not only are the typical exotic instruments heard, but also his signature moog bassline.  Furthermore, a live drum break is used, which is a bold move in the current computer drum musical climate of today.  After this song, the focus is transferred back to lyrics, with the track “Full Circle.” Sean reminisces about his days before propelling to fame- and delivers introspective commentary on the way he views life.  The line “if yesterday is a tomb, then tomorrow is the womb,” particularly resonated with me, as it encourages one to live every day to the fullest.

    As the listener approaches the end of “Detroit 2,” one song, “Don Life,” stands far above the rest in terms of instrumental ambitiousness.  It is based around a sample of michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” which is taken to a completely different level with the help of six different producers.  Complementing the beat, Sean and Lil Wayne boost the energy even more with fast-paced flows about aggressively chasing their goals.  The experience this song provides is far beyond that of many others, as it fully immerses the listener in the high-stakes world of Sean and Wayne’s lives.

    After listening to this album, I have to say that I have underestimated Big Sean in the past.  “Detroit 2” has enabled Sean to rise above his peers and reach a level of quality that has become relatively rare in the current state of rap.  It is almost as if this is the album that he has been trying to make for years, and the time he spent looking inwards is what finally enabled him to do so.