Detroit 2 Album Review
Big Sean returns with his first album since 2017’s I Decided, with the highly anticipated Detroit 2. The album has a massive amount of high-profile features, varying from Young Thug to Eminem, and carries over one hour with 21 tracks. Although the album stretches around the middle, with a few forgettable tracks that could’ve been scrubbed, it is a very solid project and serves as a nice homage to Detroit.
The album starts with a fiery Sean, who is back from a long hiatus, calling out his haters and doubters. His first two tracks are confident and he claims on the intro that he is “ unstoppable” and “ going down as one of the gods”. He also opens up on some personal experiences, including his heart disease that almost killed him at age 19. However, the main theme that is apparent throughout the album is mental health. During his break, Big Sean has meditated and stepped away from social media because of how negative it is. On his track “ Deep Reverence” with the late Nipsey Hussle, he reflects on how Hussle’s death made him think about life differently. He reached out to Kendrick Lamar, who he had a falling out with, because of how short life is. Most importantly, he discusses how mental health has been handled in school. “In high school, I learned chemistry, biology, but not how to cope with anxiety.”
Although there are some solid tracks around the middle of the album, such as “Wolves”, the bloated tracklist comes back to haunt Big Sean here. 21 songs is just too many for an album, especially when some cause the message and overall theme to be distorted. The soft and melodic songs, like “Time In” with Jhene Aiko, take away from the hungry raps of Sean in the beginning and near end of the album.The collaboration with Young Thug, “Respect It”, came across as flat the first time, but after multiple listens, I’ve warmed up to it. The end is worth the wait, though, with two of the best songs on the album in “Don Life” and “Friday Night Cypher”. “Friday Night Cypher” is an epic collaboration between ten Detroit rappers. At almost ten minutes long, the song is reminiscent of Eminem’s 2014 “ Detroit vs. Everybody”. And Eminem comes through on this track as well, highlighting the end of the song along with Detroit legend Royce da 5’9. The best aspect for me was the combination of new school rappers with legendary Detroit rappers. Seeing up-and-coming Detroit rappers like Tee Grizzley and 42 Dugg with Eminem, Big Sean, and Royce da 5’9 was amazing and gave every rapper their own light.
The theme of Detroit is very obvious throughout the album, with stories from celebrities recounting their own experiences with Detroit. This includes Dave Chappelle, Erykah Badu, and Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder’s story stood out to me especially, as he painted a picture of the block where he grew up on the west side of Detroit and how it allowed him to connect with music. I felt that the stories reinforced the idea of the album being a love letter to the gritty nature of Detroit’s entertainment culture.
As far as the features on this album, I thought that they were largely hit or miss. Unfortunately, I was not blown away by Jhene Aiko’s collaborations with Sean on this album, especially because they usually complement each other well. Also, Travis Scott came off as unneeded on this album, especially with his vocals in the background on “ZTFO”. Young Thug came through with a solid feature, and Post Malone’s vocals were very crisp on “Wolves”. However, the greatest features came at the end, starting with “Don Life”. Lil Wayne again proved that age has not slowed him down, and he is still at a very high level. The “ Friday Night Cypher” had incredible verses from all involved, except for a weak one from Sada Baby. Specifically, I thought that Royce da 5’9, Eminem, and Big Sean had the best verses. And finally, the Dom Kennedy assisted final song “Still I Rise”, was a triumphant and upbeat ending to the album.
Final Rating: 7.5
Best Tracks: Deep Reverence, Don Life, Friday Night Cypher, Wolves
Worst Tracks: Time in, The Baddest ( one of the worst beats I’ve heard in awhile), and Everything That’s Missing