[Album Review] “Detroit 2” by Big Sean

The listening experience of Detroit 2 is rather cumbersome and spotty, mainly due to Big Sean’s underwhelming singing on some of the deep cuts and a bloated track list but the album’s versatile production and quality features managed to keep it afloat in the grander scheme of things.

Big Sean is a Detroit rapper who rose to fame all the way back in 2007. Sean dropped his debut album “Finally Famous” in 2011 and a mixtape titled “Detroit” in 2012. “Detroit 2” is a sequel to Detroit and was released on September 4, 2020.

Track List :

  1. Why Would I Stop?
  2. Lucky Me
  3. Deep Reverence
  4. Wolves
  5. Body Language
  6. Story by Dave Chappelle
  7. Harder Than My Demons
  8. Everything’s That’s Missing
  9. ZTFO
  10. Guard Your Heart
  11. Respect It
  12. Lithuania
  13. Full Circle
  14. Time In
  15. Story by Erykah Badu
  16. FEED
  17. The Baddest
  18. Don Life
  19. Friday Night Cypher
  20. Story by Stevie Wonder
  21. Still I Rise

Detroit 2 has a lot of great things going for it, on most of the tracks, Big Sean’s rapping is on point, the features are great and the production is solid. Had it not been for the weird detours into the RnB lane and an awful amount of filler, the album would have been special. Some of the highlights on the album are very impressive. The intro track, titled “Why Would I Stop?” produced by Hit-Boy and Rogét Chahayed, showcases some very slick flows and lyrically, Sean comes off as a confident and self-assured MC, constantly reminding the listener that he is unstoppable. Sean also gives a shoutout to some of his musical influences, referencing Kanye West’s early releases and legendary Detroit producer, J Dilla.

The track “Lucky Me” is an introspective look into Sean’s upcoming in the rap game. On the song, Shawn also makes a brief reference to a heart disease he was diagnosed with at the age of 19. And it’s the heart and the intimacy that makes the lyrics on the song quite inspiring and genuine. “Deep Reverence” with Nipsey Hussle is one of the best tracks on the album. Nipsey and Sean both do well and Hit-Boy’s production is dynamic, the drums are crisp and the faint vocal samples in back before Big Sean’s verse comes in sound great. “Wolves” with Post Malone has a great, catchy hook but the utilization of Post’s feature is quite questionable. Instead using Post for the hook which would be the most logical decision, Sean does it for pretty much the entire song until the end and Post’s main feature turned out to be a regular verse which ended up sounding quite forgettable.

“Body Language” with Jhené Aiko and Ty Dolla $ign is one of the weakest tracks on the album. The song is essentially just a failed attempt at a sensual RnB banger and to make it worse, Sean half-bakes even the sexual content in his lyrics. Dropping a surface-level profound bar about demanding his lover to not just take off her clothes but also her problems and her armor just to follow it up with a line about pouring champagne over her butt is just awkward.

“Harder Than My Demons” and “Everything That’s Missing” are both better tracks than Body Language mainly due to Sean’s good writing but with that said, Sean’s awkward, somewhat low-register singing still made its way into the latter track albeit not on a scale big enough to ruin the track. “ZTFO” is a dark, moody banger backed up by some ad-libs from artist Travis Scott and is one of the few moments in the album where Sean’s singing actually works even if only because of the song’s aesthetic. “Guard Your Heart” featuring Anderson .Paak, Earlly Mac and Wale is perhaps the best track on the album. The piano sample laced throughout the track sounds wonderful and Anderson .Paak comes through with some killer vocals, proving once again why he’s one of the most essential artists today.

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