Earlier this year, I caught some heat for my latest Big Sean review. Although I Decided. has received a slight score boost, it greatly underwhelmed me. Do you still listen to it? I doubt it. It’s a decent project. However, I expect a lot from veteran musicians. After four solo albums Sean proved he will stick around for some time. Yet his recent effort, though excellently produced, offered little past its infectious singles. So when I saw he and Metro were linking up for a project, I got excited. The two collaborated on “Bounce Back,” one of Big Sean’s best overall tracks. The Atlanta hitmaker also produced two additional tracks on I Decided. Despite a small sample size, they have shown to work pretty well together. A duo of hip-hop’s biggest trendsetters incites loads of attention and potential. For the most part, Double or Nothing will satisfy the masses.
My expectations for this collab were not as lofty as for Sean’s previous album. I know what this kind of project entails. Metro Boomin has released three collaboration projects in 2017. NAV, 21 Savage, Offset, and Big Sean have all benefited from the super producer’s talents. Perfect Timing, Without Warning, and Double or Nothing fit more into Boomin’s catalog than those of the performing artists. His production is memorable, varied, and saucy. These ten beats embody Metro’s signature eerie punch without meshing into each other blandly. My favorite has to be “Even the Odds” with Young Thug. Thug alters the entire atmosphere of the album, though he barely appears. Nevertheless, the further I dove into the tracklist, the more Big Sean disappointed. Lyrically, Sean Don clearly needed a few more takes to get these songs just right. However, with a hype project like this, quality control stays moderate at best.
I appreciate the fact Big Sean is attempting to experiment with his vocal delivery. Yet his raps sound clunky over such dark production. His vocal personality is slightly out of place. Sean’s flows are off-beat a third of the time. At times, this can breed inventive deliveries. Here that is not the case. We’ll let Hov steer that vessel. Big Sean’s nimble flows go mostly unheard. Many haters and fans alike complain about his rapid-fire flows. I rather enjoy them. If an artist has that skill, why not use it? It is a vital part of Sean’s artistry. I don’t mind him switching it up a bit here, though. Still, I’m not sure if he and Metro Boomin needed a whole project together. After consuming it many times, this idea is better in theory than practice. However, the beats are so fresh that Double or Nothing is an enjoyable listen.
Outside of a handful of predictable and corny lines from Big Sean, this album succeeds via its lush production. Metro carries these ten tracks on his shoulders as the guests prove his beats are tailored for certain artists. Big Sean is not one of those artists. Travis Scott, Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, and Migos are a few. The chemistry between this duo isn’t as polished as it could be, resulting in a memorable rollout but a forgettable finished product. If they drop another album like this, it will be better. I have a feeling, though, this is a one-time thing. Many of Metro’s projects feel that way. His work ethic makes its mark all over the Billboard charts. These lyrics are not an improvement for Sean. Luckily for him, these instrumentals distract from his occasionally cringeworthy bars. Regardless, 2018 seems bright for both artists.