In honor of its 10-year anniversary, I decided to do a review of “Detroit.”
5. 24K of Gold
Big Sean and J. Cole were nothing but young kings that wanted it all in “24K of Gold.”
“24K of Gold” is a heartwarming track that is all about reaching your goals and exceeding expectations. In the song, both J. Cole and Big Sean spit lofty bars with a youthful innocence that is delightful to hear. While Sean sounds determined to make it to the top, Cole sounds like a dude that plans on being petty when he gets there. Nonetheless, the two MCs make sure you feel them with witty punchlines and aggressive deliveries.
“Experimental” was always one of my favorite tracks off this mixtape.
I was a huge fan of Kid Cudi back then, so any song that sounded like some Cudi s**t caught my attention. “Experimental” has all kinds of Cudi vibes. Not only does Chip tha Ripper, Cudi’s man, hook us up with a chorus that is Man On The Moon-Esque, but in the song, there’s so much drug talk, too (everyone knows Cudi loves drugs). Aside from the Cudi s**t, I also f**k with Juicy’s bouncy-ass verse and Big Sean’s quirky verse (Chip also drops a tough-ass verse that might be the best on the song).
3. More Thoughts
I think the word “growth” is very underrated. From “24K of Gold” (Track 2) to “More Thoughts” (Track 3), you can hear the difference between a hungry and up-and-coming Sean and a Sean who knows the game and who is reffing it.
Sean talks about everything from owning a restaurant with Jay to opening up a movie theatre in his hometown of Detroit in “More Thoughts.” The seriousness, the decisiveness, and the focus that he raps with are impressive to listen to. Sean literally meets the dramatic beat at the rim like only a superstar could.
Introspective Big Sean is my favorite Big Sean.
In “Higher,” Big Sean raps about the things that motivate him, the people that inspired him, and how grandiose he was living at the time. Even though the song boasts this dramatic beat, you really get a version of Sean that is aggressive, witty, cocky, and confident.
So, we just let a song featuring Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, and Royce Da 5’9 blow in the wind?
In our defense, Kendrick wasn’t quite Kendrick at the time, and Royce wasn’t quite Royce. Anywho, in “100,” the three MCs hit us with powerful raps that speak about their amazing come-ups, their ambitions, their guilty pleasures, their family values, and their unwillingness to vote. I absolutely love the passion that Kendrick, Sean, and Royce rap with. I also like how the song gives off this holy hip-hop feel as a whole.
SONG BY SONG RATING
1. Higher (5/5)
2. 24K of Gold (Ft. J. Cole) (4/5)
3. More Thoughts (4/5)
4. Story By Common (N/A)
5. How It Feel (3.5/5)
6. Woke Up (3.5/5)
7. Experimental (4/5)
8. Story By Young Jeezy (N/A)
9. 100 (5/5)
10. Sellin’ Dreams (4/5)
11. I’m Gonna Be (4/5)
12. FFOE (3.5/5)
13. Story By Snoop Lion (N/A)
14. RWT (4/5)
15. Once Bitten, Twice Shy (3.5/5)
16. Life Should Go On (4/5)
17. All I Know (4/5)
No matter how big you get, never forget where you came from. Also, never forget where you are trying to go. Those are the two themes that dominate Detroit. While this mixtape may not have been all that powerful to you back then, knowing what Sean has gone through and who he is today makes it feel much sweeter.
I couldn’t help but think about where Big Sean was as an artist while listening to this mixtape. At the time, he had this innocent sound that millennials like myself could relate to. To be more specific, Sean talked about bossing up in a way that recent graduates who failed a few in-person interviews could comprehend, and spit his bars over beats that had fun-loving elements. Though I think he raps very similarly today, unfortunately, I can hear a little more irritation and less innocence in his voice these days.
How about the guest features on this album? J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, Wiz Khalifa, Sean’s future baby mama (Jhene Aiko), Royce Da 5’9, French Montana, and Chris Brown all make appearances on Detroit. Isn’t it amazing how each person is still relevant today? Don’t sleep on how well the rappers and singers of the 2010s have aged.
Speaking of aging, I think the style of music on this album aged pretty well. While I rather keep songs like “Mula” and “RWT” in 2010, other songs like “Higher” and “100” definitely feel like some s**t that would do well today.
Detroit might just be Big Sean’s best project.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.