Doing an album review is a labor of love. When you sit down to write your treatise on so-and-so artist’s creatively titled album, you should be aware of a few things: reviews are practically obsolete because this thing called “the Internet” spreads music faster and further than your words can reach; everyone has an opinion and people are really looking for their’s to be validated; most people will only read the headline and then glance at the final score; finally, people like to watch things, the more videos the better.

I hate doing reviews.

I really don’t like doing them, especially when I’m not a fan of the music I’m analyzing. I’m hyper aware of my distaste for the art, but somehow I always find myself coming back to do more. I’m not sure what that means or what this tidbit says about me, but now you know. Enough about me though, lets talk about Big Sean.

If you have ever talked music with me or follow me on twitter, you probably know that I’m not a fan of Big Sean. When the Detroit rapper first came into my life, in the Summer of 2010, nothing but excitement surrounded him. Finally Famous Vol. 3 was like the craziest, smoothest, dopest mixtape I heard that year and I couldn’t wait for the album. Then the LP came and my enthusiasm exited Finally Famous is one of the corniest collections of music ever put to wax. Sean relied too much on the “Supa Dupa” flow, cheesy lyrics, and elementary hook shit.

I shook my head and prayed that this was a fluke, but then he dropped a couple of mixtapes that were only passable (a single was strong). After a stellar performance on an otherwise underachieving Cruel Summer, Sean seemed to be heading in the right direction; however, he managed to find himself parked in the catastrophe we now call Hall of Fame. He seemed to have learned almost nothing between Finally Famous and Hall of Fame, he fell for the same traps once again: boring song writing and the world’s most frustratingly annoying flow.

So now, here we are in 2015, close to two years after Hall of Fame dropped. Sean has put out a couple of singles that had the world buzzing, mostly off the strength of “IDFWU,” a song that makes douche bag identification roughly ten times easier at bars or parties. He has a new girlfriend, who looks like she could be his ex-girlfriend’s niece. Everything his camp has released pointed to a darker aesthetic, which, as Mac Miller showed us, means it has to be amazing and a sign of his maturity as a musician. Dark Sky Paradise has to be pure flames, Big Sean will take us to said overcast utopia with his lyrical prowess and passion.

Welp! So much for that, Dark Sky Paradise is another Big Sean mediocrity.

I’ll admit it, I’ll admit it, I’ve only listened to  this album like three or four times; so, anyone wielding a pitchfork, you can commence sharpening the edges. Nonetheless, I already know that I will not be returning to Dark Sky Paradise (from here on out I will refer to said album as “Overcast”) anytime in the near future. I like to read comics or go on reddit when I listen to music. Usually, when I’m reviewing an album, whatever I’m reading or browsing takes a backseat in my brain—in this case I forgot I had Big Sean playing.

You know the sad thing about Overcast is that it is far and away Big Sean’s best album. In actuality that might not be saying much, considering it only has to compete with Finally Famous and Hall of Fame. Sean made some true strides this go-round and he should be commended for the progress. He is actually talking about some social issues (“One Man Can Change The World”), he is taking relationships more seriously now (“I Know”), and he even tries his hands at philosophy (“Deep”), it seems like our little emcee is growing up…

…but he still has a ways to go. The same evil spirit that possessed Kendrick while writing “Real,” calls Overcast home. Big Sean needs to find a good hook ghost writer because he is not cutting it at all. The only choruses of note are the ones that feature another artist: Drake does his thing on “Blessing,” Kanye turns “All Your Fault” into wine, Ty Dolla $ign is just Ty Dolla $ign nuff said. I have this image of John Legend and Kanye sitting in the back of their Limo cruising through France, laughing at Big Sean for “One Man Can Change The World”. “Hope you get the pretty girls, that’s pretty and everything,” I just see Oscar Winner John Legend sitting there like, “Wtf!? Damn Ye, does your boy even try to write?”

The answer is yes, yes Big Sean tries to write. In fact, Big Sean tries to do everything really hard. I believe some people would call him a try hard, which is the least likable characterization imaginable. He has been repping Detroit for so long, but I still feel some way about it. When Jay or Nas rep New York, Drake and the 6, there is an air of confidence and swagger they bring about it—they aren’t shouting it out for cool points, but are actually a part of the city. When Sean reps the D (chuckle), I just hear that Gambino line “You are not from Atlanta” in my head. He tries to so hard to remind us he is actually from Detroit, that he doesn’t seem like Detroit to me.

Detroit is the old blue collar town, rough around the edges, dingy and proud of it. I think of Eminem, Slum Village, Elzhi, Danny Brown, and Ford. Big Sean, for better or for worse, has embraced the opposite of their style and presents a cleaner, preppier look to the world. I like the fact that he wants to branch off and create his on persona, but it calls more attention to his lack of lyrics dealing with the problems facing the Motor City (above the passing line about mothers being hungry or gunshots heard).

In actuality, asides from the clever vain comment here or there, Big Sean has little to no substance for anyone asides for himself on this entire album. Overcast feels like the nerdy kid embarrassing himself in front of the cools kids to get invited to a party, only this is rap and cops don’t roll around with McLovin around here. “You ain’t got that metal on your side/ Police gon’ work it like Magneto if they need to, it get deep/deep, deeper than telekinesis,” states a first year philosophy major, I mean Big Sean on “Deep.”

Why is Big Sean still talking about how he was trapped in the D (chuckle), it has been years. His topics don’t ever change, he is still hustling to find a hustle, talking about bad chicks, and thumbing through bands. Sean chooses to briefly skim over significant and song worthy events that led him to this supposed “darker metamorphosis,” and instead focuses on this “Supa Dupa” on steroids flow. He jumps on the triplet train, but his flow is already reliant on an odd time and rhythm, which makes the new speed seem too rushed. “Paradise” is the best example of this, even though I am a fan of the track. Sean goes extra hard in the middle, but it sounds weak because he is totally out of breath.  “Supa Dupa” was already gimmicky, this takes it to another level.

Big Sean won’t win my Album of the Year award with Overcast, but he might get best beat selection. The producers are the best part of the experience, I wish a better rapper got “All Your Fault.” If Sean realizes that he doesn’t have to be so shallow to make a gripping album, he potentially has the tools to make a great one. However, he is still stuck on that immature mode and it is so easy to see, no matter how hard they try to hide it under the guise of serious maturity.