The state of modern music poses an interesting conundrum: Do we evaluate a new release by the emotions it evokes? Or is it the quality and intelligence of the lyrics and acoustics? For many, the most important factor in listening to music is simply whether or not they can have a good time with friends while this music is playing in the background.
When it comes to Big Sean’s newest album, “Detroit 2,” it’s fair to say that this release achieves a good level of success in all of these metrics. The rapper Sean Anderson, popularly named ‘Big Sean,’ has always been known for making music that can set the tone for social gatherings while also providing meaningful lyrics and themes, especially in his more recent works, “I Decided” and “Dark Sky Paradise.”
“Detroit 2” follows in its predecessors’ footsteps and further exemplifies Big Sean as an artist with both style and more than enough substance. The album is packed with a variety of diverse sounds, lyrics, and artist features, which should be expected, due to the sheer size of this release at 21 full tracks. Despite being so big, the album never feels bloated but rather feels like a meaningful journey through Big Sean’s creative process and mental state.
Mental health is a big theme in “Detroit 2,” according to Big Sean in an interview with the entertainment magazine “Vulture.” When discussing the release of the new album, Big Sean says, “I don’t talk about depression and those things that much necessarily, because that’s not what I wanted to put energy into. I’m really talking about the things that lifted me up out of it.” His quotes from the interview are clear evidence that the rapper has put a great deal of effort into this project for the nearly 2 years that he’s been working on it as the tracks from the album do address its themes in the way that Sean frames them.
Although much of the material can be heavy at times, the various collaborations on the album have varied contributions to this tone; features such as Travis Scott and Post Malone add some levity to the album by having flows on tracks that may seem more generic in content but have excellent beats and replayability. On the other hand, the contributions from older artists such as comedian Dave Chappelle and musician Stevie Wonder strengthen the emotional core of “Detroit 2” by sharing their views on life and family. The other lesser known features mostly achieve one of these two functions but also add their own unique style to their respective track.
As far as being evaluated on most known metrics in modern music, “Detroit 2” passes with flying colors and truly showcases Big Sean’s artistic skills in an emotional return to his roots. While not being completely tonally consistent, “Detroit 2” has quite a bit to unpack and its sheer size ensures something enjoyable for any fan of modern rap music.