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Album Review: Detroit 2 by Big Sean

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Sean Michael Leonard Anderson, or more known by his stage name, Big Sean, is a rapper/singer and songwriter from Detroit. He got his start with some mixtapes back in 2007, but didn't release his debut album until 2011. From there, he has collaborated with plenty of artists and has some pretty notable tracks. After several albums, he has now released his fifth studio album, Detroit 2, which pays homage to his hometown.

The first track from the album is Why Would I Stop? It opens up with a quiet synth/electronic notes in the background but slowly comes in with the trap drum beats once Big Sean starts rapping. This track talks about why Big Sean doesn't want to stop rapping and stay in this career as long as he is remaining relevant. Even though he has been around for about ten years since his debut album, he still is able to rake in the money with his albums. This is definitely a great banger to open up his fifth studio project.

Lucky Me definitely has more of an old-style piano sample in the background. It tones down the album a bit with a lower quality track compared to the last one. Despite the lower quality, Big Sean is able to talk about some of the complications he had faced in the past. He talks about his heart condition which is the first time he has opened up about this. Halfway through the track, it switches up to more of a trap-styled beat.

Deep Reverence was one of the latest singles for the album, and I also mentioned it on the latest episode of my podcast. The track also features the late Nipsey Hussle. Nipsey definitely talks about street life and how he was brought up in a Crip neighborhood. Big Sean on the other hand talks about some different issues. He talks about how schools focus on certain subjects but never talk about mental health issues.

Wolves opens up with some dog/wolf noises as well as a distorted electronic sound. This track also features Post Malone during the chorus and the second verse. Post Malone definitely adds a unique twist and sound to the track. During the track, Big Sean mentions this is about his family when growing up. He said that they were like a pack of wolves since they were stronger together and everyone took care of each other.

Body Language is another feature-heavy track that features Ty Dolla $ign and Jhené Aiko. The track is pretty minimal in instrumentation. You do have some background vocals, but just a light percussive instrumental over it. The track is definitely sexual in nature once you start to look into the lyrics. Since Big Sean and Jhené Aiko are in a relationship, it's no wonder that this track would be on the album. Not a huge fan of it, but it's an interesting twist.

Story By Dave Chappelle is exactly as it says, a story from Dave Chappelle. This one of the few stories that are told on this album. While Dave Chappelle isn't from Detroit, he talks about his experience and some of his shows while in Detroit. He talks about Danny Brown, how some people in the audience responded to him, and the run-in with Big Sean's father. Big Sean's father gave him a pep talk and he talks about how he won't stop loving Detroit.

Harder Than My Demons marks one of the shorter tracks on the album, just a little over two minutes in length. The track opens up with reverbed and muted vocals in the background. This also marks another banger from Big Sean on the album. On this track, Big Sean talks about his faith and how he has been working hard. The outro of the track features a quick beat change and has more of his singing R&B style.

Everything That's Missing opens up with a quick spoken introduction. After that, you just have a simple piano beat that carries through the track. You do have some other distorted and chopped up noises thrown in there. Big Sean's flow isn't really anything special on the track, but you can definitely tell there is more emotion thrown in there. He talks about moving to Los Angeles (he refers to it as Lost Angeles) and how that didn't make things any better. He says he still misses his hometown of Detroit.

ZTFO is another quick, just over two minutes in length, track. ZTFO stands for 'zen the f*** out.' It's your typical trap styled beat, but it definitely has a lot of Travis Scott influence since Travis Scott has some quick adlib parts thrown in there. I wish Travis Scott had a verse, but at least he's on a track later in the album. On this track, Big Sean talks about how these bad thoughts can't put him in a bad mood, he just stays in his positive state of mind.

Guard Your Heart is a piano and soul-filled track. Anderson .Paak opens up the track with a beautiful introduction. After Anderson .Paak's introduction, it turns into more of a piano filled beat. Each artists on this track has something different to contribute to the track. Big Sean talks about how he is trying to talk about a city that he doesn't even stay in anymore. Wale talks a lot about what's going on in the United States at this moment in time.

Respect It brings us back to Big Sean's trap-styled beats. You got the simple electronic line, while you have your booming bass and trap drum kits. This also features Young Thug, who I haven't really talked about positively in the past. I really like this beat, but could have done without Young Thug. Big Sean's flow is really simple but gets you stuck in a certain mood. He also name drops AOL and AIM which were pretty popular instant messaging services back in the mid-2000s.

Lithuania finally brings us back to Travis Scott where he actually has a verse. However, I'm not too big on this track, especially since there isn't too much of an influence on the actual track. He does have his reverbed vocals, but it just doesn't mix well with the beat in my opinion. Big Sean seems to talk about his success and brags about some of the things he has. He also talks about the type of women that he has.

Full Circle has a pretty dull, and high-pitched beat. This beat doesn't really have much or anything interesting to add. However, he was able to get Diddy on this track, so we know that he is still around and hops on tracks from time to time. Just like the name of the track suggests, Sean talks about how his life has come full circle. He also reflects on his time living in the midwest, and how the hip hop scene was much different there than other parts of the country.

Time In is definitely one of my favorites from this album and the sweet and staccato-like beat makes it that much more enjoyable. The track technically features TWENTY88 which is the duo between Big Sean and Jhené Aiko. I'm a bit confused why the track earlier in the album didn't feature TWENTY88. Despite their complicated relationship in the past, they talk about putting the time in and trying to make the relationship work.

Story By Erykah Badu is another story from the album. This is actually the shortest track on the album, just above two minutes in length. This is a bit different than the other story since it has some music incorporated in there. She mentions that she isn't from Detroit, but she's from the other big D, which is Dallas, Texas. However, just like Dave Chappelle, Detroit has a special place in her heart. She also mentions Big Sean's track, I Don't F*** With You.

FEED definitely has a dark presence to the track, even the low bass notes add to the eerieness of the track. Big Sean records a few lyrics, then decides to reverse it at the beginning, and even talks about being possessed. He definitely seems like he is trying to prove something on this track since he just killed it on this quick beat. Towards the end of the track, he focuses on the topic of purpose and what his purpose is.

The Baddest features some recorded and chopped up brass instruments. Since he's trying to prove he's the baddest, the loud blaring horn section really adds to the message. I feel like he was trying to make some big and grand track with it, but it doesn't really sound that great. It just sounds messy and all over the place. While he definitely speeds up during the second verse and goes off, the beat just ends up ruining it.

Don Life has another big feature, this time with Lil Wayne who has been in the rap game for some time now. Also, this isn't the first collaboration between the two. When the beat drops, you have a high pitched and shiny beat. I feel like some of the brass instruments on the previous track would mix better on this track. Just when you think the beat is going to slow down, Lil Wayne keeps up with it during his verse. The outro talks about how black music is about 60% of the music sold in the world, but those artists don't get paid as much as others.

Friday Night Cypher marks the longest track on the album, just about nine and a half minutes in length. I was a bit surprised by this track since it features several artists from the city of Detroit. It also has one of the more notable features from Detroit, Eminem. This is also similar to what Eminem did with one of his tracks. The beat definitely changes up a few times throughout the track so it keeps it fresh. Eminem ends the track, which only seems right since he did something like this before Big Sean did.

Story By Stevie Wonder marks the last story on this album. This story is actually from a Detroit native, Stevie Wonder. While he was glad that he was raised in Detroit, he also talks about being blind and how that allowed him to be free. Just because he was born blind, he said that didn't stop him from having a vision. He said he never had to feel poor since God made him rich and gave him this opportunity.

The last track from the album is Still I Rise. The track opens up with an older style beat that features a bright horn brass section. This is what I would expect from him at the very end of the album. A big and open send off from the album. We also get some small parts from the feature Dom Kennedy. Towards the end of the album, Big Sean talks about how losses can tell you a lot. Despite a loss, you still need to move on and learn from it.

I definitely wasn't expecting a twenty-plus track album from Big Sean, especially since most of his albums aren't that long. While there are a good amount of tracks on here, there are a few skips on the record as well. I do enjoy some of the storytelling, but I believe the album could do without some of the stories, especially for the people who didn't grow up in Detroit.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Favorite Tracks: Why Would I Stop?, Deep Reverence, ZTFO, Respect It, Time In, FEED, Friday Night Cypher

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