Rapper Big Sean and producer Metro Boomin released their new collaborative project, “Double or Nothing”, on Thursday night. Following a trend of prominent hip-hop
artists pairing up for collaborative albums, the two have delivered a 10-track project
that neither wows nor completely disappoints. Their lead single, “Pull up n Wreck” came out last month featuring a verse from 21 Savage and an otherworldly choir loop reminiscent of "O Fortuna." Big Sean, who is reported to have written poetry before getting into music, showcases
those lyrical talents with speedy flows, crafty wordplay, and double entendre. At
times, this style causes him to slip into chronic wordiness, the type his fellow
rapper from Detroit, Eminem sometimes suffers from. As far the beats go, Metro Boomin delivers
his signature hard-hitting drums and 808 basslines. Deviating from his other work,
Metro uses some samples in songs without losing his taste for hi hat rolls.
The samples seem out of place on some tracks. The opening track samples Diana
Ross’s “Theme from Mahogany”. The fact that the song is one of Diana Ross’s most
famous, recognizable songs illustrates lazy crate-digging that defines the production of
the album. Who’s Stopping Me" is a highlight of the album. Complete with a bossa nova sample and Metro Boomin drums, the song is definitely unalike other tracks the two have
released and yet, does not stray from the characteristics that make each artist unique. "So Good" is another track that stands out. The song consists of a bass line and drums,
allowing for the listener to focus in on Big Sean and guest rapper, Kash Doll get nasty
with the lyrics. Hip-hop fans can never have too many dirty sex songs ( see: 2 Live Crew,
My neck my back “D2B”) Big Sean songs seem to follow the same
formula: wordy bars, tonal variation, and big sounding beats. This formula is has not
failed per se, yet it is one that will not make a lasting impact. Big Sean is stuck between the two worlds of
Pop and Hip Hop, the radio and the club, and his attempts to break free never quite stick.
Yes, Sean has created some memorable phrases in Hip-Hop culture and hit party
songs like “I Don’t F*ck with You”. But the rapper’s complete body of work thus far is
rather forgettable. Metro, on the other hand, has been cranking out music so much lately that this album
could fly under the radar, and he’d still be one of the most sought after producers of the year.
The sound he pioneered, along with other Atlanta producers, is the dominant sound of
popular Hip-Hop right now and these artists need him more than he needs them. Plus, the collaborative Hip-Hop album is getting tired. Now, it seems that artists are just looking for their own “Watch the
Throne” or “What a Time to Be Alive”. The chemistry is not there on this album like it
has been with other duos, or even in Metro Boomin’s other collaborative albums, which
makes for an unexciting project.