Leave it to Big Sean to drop a record unannounced (a week before Eminem's Revival
is set to come out — scandalous!) and then play a free hometown show a few days later. A bigger surprise than the release is that it's not
Big Sean teamed up with producer Metro Boomin on Double Or Nothing
and truthfully, there's not a banger in sight. No infectious "Blessings" or commanding "I Don't Fuck with You." Instead, a flurry of references from
Rick and Morty, Channing Tatum, Goldeneye on Nintendo 64, and
smoking blunts with Rosa Parks. It also packs a thick guest list featuring 2Chainz, Yung Thug, and 21 Savage.
Double Or Nothing
is less about flash and more about what it's like to be #woke af
in 2017 (even if that means having a record almost completely devoid of memorable hooks.)
Needless to say, we had some questions.
1. Is Big Sean on that health grind?
You won't find any traces of sizzurp here. In fact, we can't help but think Big Sean is riding that uninsured "I'll-just-spend-$50-at-Whole-Foods" vibe. Case and point, his remedy for the common cold on "Who's Stopping Me":
“I’m never getting sick, sipping ginger echinacea”
Or his public service announcement regarding water consumption and the opioid crisis on "In Tune":
“I been drinking more water and popping less pills, man/unless they vitamins, ‘cause ni**a I’m tryna live”
Okay, so maybe this is a stretch. But we couldn't help but recognize the signature anxiety of Radiohead's jarring "Jigsaw Falling into Place" from 2007's In Rainbows as the background guitar of "Who's Stopping Me."
Has he been reading Gywenth Paltrow's GOOP for advice on how to manage his stress as mentioned on "Savage Time"?
"Swear I'm goin' every second, so I keep good weed, good vibes/good crystals/Lavender eucalyptus, mixing it with incense/Just to relieve my tension"
2. Is Radiohead’s “Jigsaw Falling into Place” sampled on “Who’s Stopping Me”?
3. Is Double Or Nothing a spiritual awakening?
In an age where Lil Pump can wreck the charts with a song that repeats the words "Gucci Gang" 60-plus times, we would be hard-pressed to find a rap track that taps into spiritual commentary. Double Or Nothing
is here to namaste
On "In Tune," Big Sean confesses his book club reading list is stacked:
"And my mind is an open mind/I believe in the Bible and Quran/And I follow the signs, yeah not street signs/I mean universal signs, I'm outside"
And goes on to allude to space travel AND reincarnation:
"I'm in space, I'm in mind, I'm in tune/On a mission 'til I get inside my tomb and cacoon/Every success is just a checkpoint, pass and move/When I leave this body, Imma prolly
set up to the moon"
And after saying the word "bitch" 25 times on "Even The Odds" Big Sean checks his aura at the door:
"Feeling like my chakras aligned/From now on call me Don/Rhyming for days, I couldn't eat ant it was not Ramadan"
4. Big Sean vs. Trump and Gov. Snyder? Big Sean for President?
Oh, shit. A rap song that tackles the Flint water crisis? We wouldn't mind an Erin Brockovich moment as called out on "Savage Time":
"Imma take that water from Flint, and Imma go up there to D.C./Imma make the president drink, he wouldn't even let it touch his sink"
5. Is Big Sean taking chiropractic appointments?
As someone who hunches over a computer all day, "So Good" has me wondering when Big Sean had the time to get licensed:
"I'd done fucked around and realigned your spine"