This is the debut EP from Detroit rapper & singer/songwriter Big Sean. Coming up as a protege of Chicago icon Kanye West & signing to his Def Jam Recordings imprint G.O.O.D. Music, he generated some buzz in the late 2000s by dropping the Finally Famous mixtape trilogy, but it wouldn’t be until 2011 when his profile significantly increased when Sean dropped a 4th installment as his full-length debut. This was followed up the next year with the highly acclaimed Detroit mixtape & then a sophomore album the year after that entitled Hall of Fame. However, his next 2 full-lengths Dark Sky Paradise & I Decided. were both mediocre in comparison to all those past efforts. Now the last time Big Sean dropped a project was in late 2017 with Double or Nothing which had INCREDIBLE production from Metro Boomin’ top to bottom, but Sean himself was SEVERELY lacking. He just fulfilled his G.O.O.D. contract last fall by dropping the surprisingly mature Detroit II & is re-enlisting Hit-Boy for What You Expect?, except he’s actually producing the whole thing rather than overseeing it.
“Chaos” is a shrilling yet triumphant opener about catching them Ws whereas “Into It” follows it up with an airy backdrop & some fast-paced snares boasting. “The One” appropriately samples the SWV joint “You’re the One” admitting he doesn’t know what it’s like for girls to not want him while the song “Loyal to a Fault” with Bryson Tiller & Lil Durk vibrantly speaks on betrayal. The penultimate track “Offense” with Babyface Ray & 42 Dugg finds the trio on their Detroit trap shit talking about being on top, but then “What a Life” ends the EP by picking up where the previous joint left off sonically & recapping on his life up to this point.
If you enjoy Detroit II like I did, then you’re gonna love What You Expect? just as much if not even more because dude is continuing to impress me more & more as of late. Sean’s songwriting is continuing to level up at an unbelievable rate & Hit-Boy’s production suits him like it did Nas on his last 2 albums.
Big Sean is a 32 year old rapper, singer & songwriter from Detroit, Michigan coming up as a protege of Chicago icon Kanye West & signing to his Def Jam Recordings imprint GOOD Music. He generated some buzz in the late 2000s by dropping the Finally Famous mixtape trilogy, but it wouldn’t be until 2011 when his profile significantly increased when Sean dropped a 4th installment as his full-length debut. This was followed up the next year with the highly acclaimed Detroit mixtape & then a sophomore album the year after that entitled Hall of Fame. However, his next 2 full-lengths Dark Sky Paradise & I Decided. were both mediocre in comparison to all those past efforts. Now the last time Big Sean dropped a project was in late 2017 with Double or Nothing which had INCREDIBLE production from Metro Boomin’ top to bottom, but Sean himself was SEVERELY lacking. But after a couple years of speculation, he’s returning with a sequel to Detroit as his 6th full-length album.
The opener “Why Would I Stop?” speaks on where he is now come over an abrasive instrumental from Hit-Boy, who had a huge hand in overseeing the whole album. The next song “Lucky Me” opens up on things he’s never talked about over a relaxing beat before a dope switch-up during the 2nd half while the track “Deep Reverence” with Nipsey Hu$$le sees the 2 talking about being legends in the streets over a spacious beat. The song “Wolves” with Post Malone finds the 2 looking back on how they grew up over a cavernous instrumental while the track “Body Language” is a TWENTY88 reunion about lust over a moody KeY Wane beat.
After the Dave Chappelle story, the track “Harder Than My Demons” talks about how Sean thanks God for everything over a Mike WiLL Made-It & DJ Khalil instrumental sampling the classic [Michael Jackson] joint “Human Nature” while the song “Everything That’s Missing” talks about heartbreak over a bare piano instrumental. The track “Z.T.F.O. (Zen The Fuck Out)” talks about canceling bad energy over an ghostly Cool & Dre instrumental with co-production from No I.D. while the song “Guard Your Heart” with Wale & Anderson .Paak finds the 3 getting on the conscious side of things over a luxurious boom bap beat.
The track “Respect It” with Young Thug sees the 2 talking about how no one will do them dirty over a vibrant instrumental while the song “Lithuania” with Travis Scott finds 2 boasting over a psychedelic trap beat. The track “Full Circle” with KeY Wane sees the 2 about how everything in their lives/careers have come together over an uplifting instrumental while the song “Time In” by TWENTY88 gets back on the romantic tip over a wavy beat & with what is EASILY the worst hook on the entire album. After the Erykah Badu story, the track “FEED” talks about time moving fast over a murky beat from Boi-1da while “The Baddest” tells his significant other she’s just that over a heavy instrumental with some menacing horns.
The track “Don Life” with Lil Wayne finds the 2 talking about being top dogs over a futuristic instrumental whereas the Friday Night Cypher” is an epic posse cut with constant, perfectly transitioned beat changes featuring a handful of Detroit spitters ranging from Sada Baby & Tee Grizzley to Boldy James & even Bad Meets Ǝvil. Then after the Stevie Wonder story, the closer “Still I Rise” gets on the motivational side of things over a victorious instrumental.
The singles leading up had me excited & as for the final product, this album definitely Big Sean’s best work in a while. Not only has the production improved compared to Dark Sky Paradise & I Decided., but you can definitely hear how much he’s matured in the past 13 years & it does a good job of recapturing the essence of that original Detroit tape.