Seems like Metro trusts everybody, the joke has gone, since this album with Big Sean became a reality. Since the still young Atlanta producer became one of, if not the, in demand beatsmiths in hip hop, he's understandably been cranking out projects. Unlike many of his peers and forefathers, he hasn't been relegated to the background with a few hits scattered per album, but rather has helped put the aged tradition of giving a producer a co-credit for a project somewhat back in vogue. He may have been responsible for nearly the entirety of Future's DS2, but starting with Savage Mode with 21 Savage, Metro Boomin began claiming his real due.

Since then, he's been one of rap's leading hitmakers in name, rather than just paygrade. Having only just released Without Warning alongside Offset and (once again) 21, he hasn't taken even a moment to rest on his laurels, returning barely over a month later with Double or Nothing.

However, it's his first choice that strikes as a bit hollow. Thus far, Metro's collaborators have largely been buzzing fellow Atlanta artists, making Big Sean an odd bedfellow. Certainly, there's no harm in the super-producer moving onward and upwards, and Sean undeniably has some pop heft, but it's not enough to make this project truly gel.

Metro has generally chosen wisely when it comes to cohorts, selecting voices as sure to make his projects a true moment as his beats. Now, on Double or Nothing, it's essentially up to Metro to heft Big Sean along towards something interesting. Wisely, the grim, often sinister sound of Without Warning is scarcely heard here, with the producer deftly opting to provide with lighter, jumpier production that allows for his relatively empty charm to strut free, whether on the Diana Ross sampling opener or the Brazilian vibes of 'Who's Stopping Me'.

In all fairness, Sean is a gifted rapper, he flows confidently over most any track, whether alongside an Eminem or Justin Bieber, he sounds at home, but his words themselves rarely manage too impart much beyond conceit. Fumbling to be sexy on 'So Good', Big Sean opens with, “Dick so big it hardly fit,” only to be completely outwitted by female guest Kash Doll. Let's not even discuss, "Pussy so good I never fuck you in the ass," aside from acknowledging, yes, he said that. For a reputed real life playboy, he always seems to come off as a college freshman at a frat party on record. Sean's idea of painting a picture is essentially telling us he's, “watching the Rick and Morty show – while I smoke,” or, “If I ain't goin' to work, I'm going to the gym,” more of a conversationalist than a storyteller.

Left to his own devices, these flaws are perhaps concealable, but when 2 Chainz comes through with characteristic glee saying, "Got 'em waiting on my verses like it's Christmas," Sean sticks out like a student who poorly copied his test. Meanwhile, in spite of his oh-too-brief appearance, Swae Lee has never sounded more graceful than on 'Reason', outdoing the lead artist with an appearance that literally last seconds.

Naturally, no Metro project is without highlights, largely coming from the producer himself and its featured artists, but Sean is at his best when he's feeling petty, and manages some memorable moments on 'Even the Odds', and in spite of typically clumsy lines, manages to share his humanity and fears of mortality during 'In Tune'. Yet, they're drops in a saturated ocean

While Double or Nothing isn't entirely a miss, it certainly represents a downwards move for Metro Boomin. It makes sense that he'd seek bigger names to experiment with, but the choice of Big Sean was Hallmark safe. Particularly in contrast the usually steady bead he keeps on the freshest voices in hip hop, it's a disappointingly staid project. For a late year surprise, it'll do, but only just. It hardly represents the producer that's set the world afire.