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Maybach Music Group, Self Made Vol. 1

It wasn’t supposed to be this way for Rick Ross. Mired in controversy just a few years ago over his past life as a correctional prison officer and knee-deep in a war of words with 50 Cent, the Miami native was supposed to be another in the list of musical cast-offs during Jay-Z’s Def Jam tenure. Credit (or blame) his penchant for crafting tunes that have stuck to the public’s collective consciousness for five years and running, and Rozay has simultaneously become one of the more popular and polarizing hip-hop artists today. Now aiming to expand his empire, Ross has scooped up DC’s Wale, Philadelphia’s Meek Mill, Atlanta’s Pill and R&B chanteuse Teedra Moses to his Maybach Music Group, and formally introduces them with Self Made Vol. 1, the first project under his new imprint.

The three former XXL Freshmen set things off on the explosive “Self Made.” While Rick plays the sidelines, his latest acquisitions establish themselves over Just Blaze’ go-go-influenced backdrop, before smoothing things out on “Rise,” where Teedra’s soulful coos and Curren$y’s catchy hook carom off producer Cardiak’s midnight soul thump. The true star of Self Made, however, is Wale. While relative newcomers Meek and Pill are simply hoping to manifest a presence, Wale’s renewed hunger is evident as his nine features represent an official coming out party. Check “600 Benz,” where—up against D-Block general Jadakiss—he kicks witty bars of his own, spitting, “Tinted out, you ain’t seeing through/All black everything, this shit like an HBCU.” Later comes “That Way” where, behind Jeremih’s hook and an atypically chilled and groovy Lex Luger backdrop, Wale and Ricky wax poetic about the lavish life.

But therein lies the problem with Self Made Vol. 1: with so many personalities vying for attention, the artists struggle to display their own individuality, instead constantly relishing in their new spoils. Clearly influenced by their new boss’ 2010 summer dominance, Meek, Pill and Wale attempt to emulate the “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)” formula on their solo tracks “Tupac Back,” “Pacman” and the aforementioned “600 Benz,” respectively. While these cuts aren’t necessarily bad, their monotonous, repetitive call-and-response nature gets trite after hearing it on “Fitted Cap”—despite a great J. Cole verse (“I’m with your girl, you’re home alone/Bitch, you Macaulay Culkin”—and “Big Bank,” where the Bawse absurdly boasts about “dropping X pills in fish tanks.” Other times, the album’s momentum veers completely off course, like on “Don’t Let Me Go,” a forgettable track featuring forgotten Triple C member Gunplay, as well as Pill’s crude strip club cut “Ridin’ On Dat Pole.”

Heavy on panache, Self Made Vol. 1 is Rick Ross’ own rock nation, an audio ticker-tape parade simultaneously celebrating his new foundation yet meticulously crafted and catered to his own whims. While primed for another summer takeover, perhaps with their next outing MMG will offer more variety and fewer MC Hammers. —Meka Udoh

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  • http://twitter.com/limousine_lex Lex!

    Self Made is a Dope album
    who writes this shit did you listen
    to the same album that i did???
    shit is atleast a xl

    • goinHAM

      hell yea at least a xl whole album goes in.

  • Ghastly Wretch

    I haven’t heard the album but I pretty sure its dope.. The people thats up in XXl office are fucked all the way up>>The cosign Lil B!!Come on wit the bs!! They officially lost their credibility wit me..I can’t trust their opinion or judgement..R.I.P XXL!!

  • http://xxlmag.com Bakerboy

    Every song i heard so far is pretty good ….. so yall probably hatin on rozay like yall always do ….. peace ……

  • Jay Cole

    This shit deserves a L good rating

    all the songs sound the SAME! im not saying they not good, but that shit sounds more like a mixtape than an album. My 2 cents…

    • mark

      what he said

  • D90

    i fucks wit the meek nd pill but this album woulda been so much hotter is rick ross wasnt tryin to make them mini versions of him

  • R.E.D

    Yeah, L is a good rating! Tracks are good, beats are hot, but all songs sounds the SAME! It’s like i’m listenin’ one 60 minute song…. And Ross even made Pill and Meek swith up their flow. Now they all sound like Rick Ross. Not sayin’ that’s bad thing, but i expect of them to be more versatile.

  • http://google.com kidwitdawings

    Shit is Hot! Due to the simple fact that Rozay been making hot shit all year long. Everytime he drop its some negativity coming from some angle, whether it be magazine critics or just haters in general. Dude drops some fire shit everytime he comes out. If that ain’t enough to give him props then I don’t know what is. Yall some comedians, not hiphop fans.

  • Hurghh

    This ish is FIRE, Rozay be making quality music for like 2 year straight some one tell me a rapper now more consistent and putting the work in. Fuk a Hater

    Get that Show Money Rosssss

  • r. hamilton

    rozay is winning with this mmg crew. now let’s see what
    the other(ym,good,shady,roc nation) crews can do. anybody
    that doesn’t at least appreciate rick’s business acumen is
    very simple…

  • Fitted Cap

    They need to make a video for “Fitted Cap” (Wale, Meek Mill & Rick Ross featuring J. Cole) which is on their album Self Made Vol. 1.

    • http://www.bing.com/ Philly

      It’s alwyas a pleasure to hear from someone with expertise.

  • Fitted Cap

    They need to make a video for “Fitted Cap” featuring J. Cole

  • hadi ahk

    i havent heard it but every song i heard from rick rozay honestly, they all sound the same same beat same flow sounds like ace hood wrote his raps, he took his flow but wale does not fit in that group he out shines all them tru story so im pretty sure they were accurate with the rateing for the album L..who likes it i bet yall are some 90′s babys no disrespect tho

  • dat_guy

    the album should have got a M rating every song sound the same yeah they might bang in the clubs but they will not get play in my ride

  • Kevin

    this shit deserves atleast an XL

  • Mike

    Whoever reviewed this sucks cuz he didnt even mention “I’m a Boss” and said “Don’t Let me go” is forgettable. That was one of the best songs though