Review: Big Sean revisits his roots on ‘Detroit 2’

Big Sean Twitter | Photo Courtesy
The album serves as another love letter to his original home

The sequel comes nearly eight years to the day after its predecessor

It’s no shock that Big Sean has been through quite a lot over the past few years. The artist went through a very public breakup with R&B singer and collaborator Jhene Aiko, faced mixed to negative reviews on his last project Double or Nothing (a collaboration album with producer Metro Boomin) and recently came forth about his battle with anxiety and depression.

The 32-year-old rapper knew that he had to find some method of coping with everything going on around him before it was too late. It seems that Sean turned to music and its creation, away from social media and the spotlight, as an outlet to deal with a lot of his surrounding environment.  

His latest effort, Detroit 2, serves as a landmark of how far he’s come since his last in the Detroit series in September of 2012, as well as his last full LP since 2017. While much of his path to peace and self-appreciation was done so in privacy, the album had no shortage of helping hands along the way.

Detroit 2 was executive produced by G.O.O.D. Music label founder Kanye West and frequent collaborator Hit-Boy. Along with the overall assist in production, there’s an abundant number of features across the album, with at least one on nearly every song.

The star-studded list ranges from superstars Post Malone, Travis Scott and Eminem, to singers Wale, Anderson Paak and Jhene Aiko, to up-and-coming acts such as Kash Doll and 42 Dugg. The most impressive aspect of this extensive feature list is that Sean finds a way to outshine most of the other artists across the album, never fully giving up the spotlight.

Aside from the tracklist, the lyrics don’t fall short of Sean’s standard depth. He takes the time to reflect on religion, mental health, meditation, current events and (of course) Detroit. The project contains a heavy amount of self-reflection for the artist on tracks like “ZTFO” and “Deep Reverence”.

On the latter track, featuring the late Nipsey Hussle, Sean touches on a recent miscarriage, his struggle with anxiety and severe depression and those around him passing away at such a young age.

The project is a whopping 21 tracks and clocking in at 71 minutes long. Needless to say, it’s a lot to consume in the first three, four or even five listens from start to finish. When an LP bloats to this size, it’s easy for it to gain a decent amount of fat along the way that could’ve been trimmed off.

Despite three of the tracks being short narratives told by icons Dave Chappelle, Erykah Badu and Stevie Wonder, a handful of songs could have been saved for a later project as to not overwhelm listeners.

Despite there being a decent number of tracks to pass on for each person, there truly is something for everyone here. Sean took his time, reflected on both himself and his surroundings, and still finds a certain beauty in survival. It’s pleasing to see not just an artist, but a person, overcome so many obstacles and come out even stronger on the other side.

Review: 3.5/5

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