Big Sean: I Decided Tour – South Side Ballroom, Dallas, Texas – 3/18/2017
There are many rappers in the industry today whose bodies of work and reputation precedes them, plenty of whom are hard working and skillful. After all, it’s what the job calls for if you want to stay at the top. However, very few offer that spark of authenticity and genuine fortitude that seems to more than narrowly miss the majority of today’s young artists in the rat-race to fame and fortune. Sean Michael Leonard Anderson, commonly known as Big Sean, is one of the few exceptions. His multidimensional appeal is what sets him apart. He’s seamlessly tightroped between thoughtful and turnt up tacks for years now, and has improved constantly since Finally Famous six years ago. His 2017 installment, I Decided, is the Detroit native’s fourth studio album, and undoubtedly his most maturely curated piece to date, but still manages to bump in a fashion comparable to that of its predecessor, Dark Sky Paradise and others before. With just one headliner, Big Sean’s second night of the tour kicked off in Dallas, and didn’t seem to disappoint a single attendee.
Bubbling newcomer MadeinTyo, most famously known for his vibey debut, “Uber Everywhere” has made quite a name for himself in a short time period, seeing as he only currently has two mixtapes and an EP to his name. Opening for the likes of a veteran such as Big Sean is no easy task, yet he managed to do so with ease, fully energized as he revved up the onlookers’ anticipation.
Sean Don made a theatrical entrance as he took to the stage. Behind him were backdrops of faces, including his own, which he denoted as being synonymous to the ‘voices in his head,’ of course alluding to the premise of “Voices In My Head/Stick to The Plan,” one of the most unique offerings from his album. The crowd cajoled in recognition as the rapper made haste of their energy as he transitioned into, “No Favors,” and then kicking it back into high gear with “Paradise”.
A few songs into the performance, the rapper announced that he was actually plagued with a nasty cold, but vowed to not let that affect him from putting on the best performance possible. Aside from a few nasally words mid-performance here and there, one would have never thought the rapper to have been ill, as he passionately amped up the crowd, encouraging feedback gleefully, and even playfully snatched a few fans’ phones to take selfies and film videos. He kept the everyone’s spirit elevated the entire night despite his ailments, never once letting it get the best of him.
He segued into cuts from his former catalogs as well, such as the smooth jam from Dark Sky Paradise, “Play No Games” and well-known radio smashes recorded alongside his mentor Kanye West, “Clique” and “Mercy.” He even performed “On The Way” a flirty tune from TWENTY88, a romance-infused album made with his love interest and DefJam lablemate Jhene Aiko. He pulled out all the stops, hit after hit, and even brought MadeinTyo back out for “Skateboard P Remix,” on which he features with the newcomer. “Bigger Than Me” is perhaps the rapper’s most introspective cut from I Decided, and appeared for a moment to be the punctuating close-out performance for the evening. Big Sean exited the stage, and, just as some crowd-goers turned to leave the venue, seemingly unsatisfied, the rapper rushed back out to perform closing numbers, “IDFWU” and, crowd favorite, “Bounce Back,” much to the delight of everyone in attendance.
Big Sean’s demeanor is as gracious as they come. His gratitude and zeal for his fans is unparalleled, given that he performed well over 25 songs, and assured everyone there that their presence in the venue was more than appreciated. “We’re all walking different walks of life, but it’s amazing that we’re all here tonight, at the same place,” Sean gleamed during a interlude of a motivational speech, centered around destiny and taking chances. He discussed the gravity and importance of following one’s dreams, keeping positive forces of energy within reach, and toxicity as far away as possible. He went on to attribute his good fortune to surrounding himself with genuine individuals, and encouraged the audience to select their inner circles carefully as well. “I just know this room is filled with future millionaires,” Sean encouraged as he spanned the room with his arms, letting them know that anything in one’s lifetime is attainable if you’re willing to put in the work.
In essence, the entire affair was a connective, inspirational call to action for those wanting to pursue all that life has to offer. This has been Sean’s drive home message throughout the majority of his work, hence being the reason so many gravitate towards his artistry, given that it’s not only honest, but authentic in every regard. The first night of his tour kicked off in Houston, where he surprised his fans with an appearance from Travi$ Scott, and likely has a few more tricks up his sleeve as he ventures onward for the rest of the schedule.