Detroit 2 Review
Detroit 2 by Big Sean
To understand this album, you first need to understand Big Sean’s mindset going into it. There was a period of at least a few years before this project that Sean describes as being “broken.” He felt burnt out, maxed out, and he had lost passion for his work. He said he would go to the studio and sit there for hours, not being able to think of something worth writing. No doubt, he had some form of depression, and was at a very low point. Therefore, this album is what he calls a “return to himself.” He took time to himself and prioritized mental health. He started therapy, doing self-care exercises and eventually rediscovered himself. This album is a sequel to his mixtape Detroit, because Sean feels as if he’s in a similar place now. It felt like he started over, took the best parts of himself, and made them stronger. Detroit 2 is the result of Sean’s resurgence and we get to see where his mind is at right now, which, in many ways, is better than it has ever been before (Apple Music Interview 2020).
Detroit 2 sounds exactly like Sean’s mindset. He’s hungrier, he’s flowing, he’s passionate on this project. We get this energy right out of the gate with the uptempo “Why Would I Stop?” The Hit-Boy production is hard-hitting, and Sean’s confidence is pulsing throughout every line. This is just an ounce of what is to come on the rest of the project. Detroit 2 has the most substance of any Big Sean album yet. He details his struggles and his battles with demons, but always does so with a positive outlook and encouraging message. On “Lucky Me,” Sean explains that he had a heart condition when he was younger, as well as describing his life as a “living nightmare.” Rather than asking the listener for pity, Sean instead frames it in a way to show his gratefulness for being alive and having made it through all these challenges. This is just one of the many examples on this project of Big Sean being more mature than he has ever been and his messages are very relevant.
Other standouts on this project include “Friday Night Cypher,” a 9:28 long track that features almost every rapper from Detroit including Eminem and Royce 5'9, the skits that feature anecdotes from Dave Chapelle, Erykah Badu and Stevie Wonder, and lastly, the outro titled “Still I Rise” that acts as the uplifting sendoff. Each of these tracks fit the album perfectly, which is one of the key strengths of the project: its cohesiveness. Nothing really seems out of place from both a sonic and subject matter perspective. Even the braggadocious tracks like “Respect It” and “Lithuania” feel like they were necessary for Sean to let loose. On much of the album, he speaks on what he’s had to go through, and these songs are some of the few moments when we finally hear him drop the profound messages and just spit, which is refreshing and works well.
Detroit 2 is a really special album. It’s pretty incredible to realize how similar someone’s situation can be to yours without even knowing them personally. A lot of Sean’s battles are battles I have personally faced and feelings I have felt, so I connect immensely to this album. Big Sean is at the peak of his game lyrically, the Hit-Boy production is fantastic, the Kanye input is clear in the creativity, and the skits are truly great and add something unique to the project. Detroit 2 definitely contains some of Big Sean’s best work, and I see myself returning to it a lot. My one criticism of the album is that it might lack some of the longevity and timeless hits that Big Sean is so great at creating. However, that’s something only time will tell. For now, I will continue to enjoy Detroit 2 and work “harder than my demons.”
Favorite songs: Lucky Me, Friday Night Cypher, Still I Rise