Self Made Vol. 2 hits stores today. Since Rozay launched his Maybach Music Group, the infectious “M-M-M-Maybach Music,” drop has come to represent some of the most luxurious, polished music in recent years. In building his empire, Ross created a star in Meek Mill, breathed new life into Wale, and even somehow managed to keep Gunplay out of prison. In celebrating the release of Self Made Vol. 2 XXL ranks the 50 best songs that have come out of Rozay’s MMG powerhouse imprint since it first launched in 2009. — XXL Staff (@@XXL)
50. Party Heart
With assists from Rozay and 2 Chainz, MMG’s Stalley delivered and scored arguably his biggest hit to date with “Party Heart.” This joint definitely seeped into all the party hearts out there spilling champagne on their trousers.
A few months before either Wale or Meek Mill officially inked with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group, the two linked with the Bawse for this mixtape cut, which showed the natural chemistry between the three. The record, which was dedicated to females that came at the three rappers looking to get laced with life’s finer things, was later repackaged and included on MMG’s Self Made, Vol. 1.
Successful students from three consecutive XXL Freshmen classes—Wale (2009), J. Cole (2010), and Meek Mill (2011)—hopped on this track together to pay homage to some street fashion. With Rozay huffing and puffing the hook, the three young rappers talked greasy about kicks and women.
Ross, Meek, and Gotti give some words of wisdom on dealing with the boys in blue, the most important being stay cool as a cucumber. The accompanying music video shows just how unaffected the three rappers are when confronted by law enforcement officials.
46. wale BAIT
Wale put in “work, work, work, work” on this mixtape standout that quickly became a club anthem for the DMV representative. The cut is decidedly D.C.-influenced, as the dreadlocked rapper kicks bars about a local basketball league, area rappers, a local clothing brand, and local figures like Tony Lewis and his son, Tony, Jr. To top it off, Go-go band T.C.B. provided some of the musical stylings to add more D.C. flavor and make sure the party didn’t stop.
The three dominating members of Maybach Music teamed together to create “Bag of Money”, the first single off of Self Made Vol. 2. The song describes a certain chick who according to Meek, looks exactly like a bag of money. Curious comparisons aside, the relaxed lead single off the album works as the MMG team tackles their favorite subjects: women and money.
44. Lean wit it
Meek's bangin' track "Lean Wit It" jams from start to finish. He grabbed Cardiak for the beat and it's straight crack, not to mention Meek's witty punch lines and puns.
43. Power Circle
To open MMG’s second compilation, Self Made 2, Ross made sure to put his entire roster of rapping talents on display. After an opening stanza by Ricky, Gunplay offers one of the album’s best verses in one of his few appearances on this disc. Things don’t go downhill from there, though, as Stalley, Wale and Meek Mill all prove why they caught the Bawse’s ear. Then, in a somewhat unexpected finish to this near nine-minute posse cut, TDE’s own K. Dot closes the song with his one-of-a-kind flow. No squares in this power circle.
42. BY ANY MEANS
Using the words of Malcolm X, the MMG squad flexes authority and muscle over a cannon heavy beat. The whole team comes correct here, delivering their own interpretations of Malcolm X's infamous words.
Ross and Meek collaborated yet again on "Body Count", a banger off of Dreamchasers. The Philly native went in on this Jahlil Beats backdrop, while Ross grabbed the hook making the song that much hotter.
40. High Definition
Sampling Mike Tyson, “High Definition” follows the mafioso “B.M.F.” formula that drove Rozay’s Rich Forever mixtape at the top of the year. Here, a disdainful Rozay delivers one of the Bawse’s most clever lines off the entire project, (“Diamonds on my neck, call it the ghetto’s guillotine,”) as well as one of the funniest (“Forty by my dick, I keep on pissin’ on the hammer”).
39. Triple C's
Though Rozay ended up shelving Triple C's in favor of a new crop of talent for MMG, "Go," was an undeniable smash. Plus anytime Birdman hops on a track to talk some shit it's a treat and this was no exception.
38. so sophisticated
Ross grabbed Meek for the street ready single off of God Forgives, I Don’t adding another gem to their catalog of collaborative bangers.
With a smoothed out, mafioso themed backdrop crafted by Alchemist, Ross and Meek get their "GoodFellas" on, spewing threatening bars ("Make a nigga pay a couple birds to get his daughter back/Get the dirty money and clean it all at the laundrymat") while murdering everything in their parameter on this gem that missed placement on their Self Made, Vol. 1 compilation.
36. the world is ours
There's just something about Sk8brd P and his gaudy tendancies on the mic ("I rock Chanel nigga") that seems to always shine brighter than that bling like the Neptunes sound. But, we digress. On Rozay's anthemic churning Rich Forever cut, the Bawse delivers quite the posse cut as he casually boasts "I'm feeling myself, hope you feeling me too/God Forgives but I don't, unforgivable dude."
The stars align over T-Minus' produced anthem that displays the trio's collective to be just as radiant as their ambition. The chest-pumping tune offers sentimental if not encouraging words from the respective MCs and their walks of life. There's no doubt that this is one of the team's shining gems.
34. Keys To the Crib
The Bawse scored arguably the biggest anthem of his career in “BMF,” featuring Styles P. Well, for “Keys To The Crib” off his Rich Forever mixtape, Rozay grabbed Styles for another assist. The record has the duo cooking up crack (literally) and moving weight, with Ross bragging, “I’m a guru in the kitchen, whipping mass appeal” and Styles spitting later, “Homie holding a nin, could sneeze him a brick/Knee-deep in the cocaines, trees in the six.”
33. Big Dreams
Small city, big dreams…Meek’s been waiting on this day since he was 16. The young MMG rhyme slinger paints that picture, documenting some of the trials and tribulations that deluged his childhood: “In the jungle where niggas will rip your heart out/Cold summers where niggas’ll probably starve out/Wanna be a kingpin from watching niggas ball out.”
31. BURN Meek-Mill-2
Meek teamed up with G.O.O.D music’s Big Sean on the track “Burn” off his latest mixtape, Dreamchasers 2. The high voltage track is a pedal to the medal banger, where the two former XXL Freshmen ping pong their shit talking boasts back and forth.
Adding to a history of potent collaborations, Ricky and Esco joined forces for this Rich Forever standout. Though Nas bested Ross with his whirling verse, both MCs flexed their lyrical muscles, telling tales of coming up in the ghetto and what it was like to make it out. They vividly brought listeners to “The side you gotta watch your A&E cable television” to see, as Ross proclaims on the song’s opening.
29. I love my bitches
After having an impactful run thanks to the menacing sounds of Lex Luger, Ross recruited Blaze for this particular soulful ode to women. High-pitched, chipmunk vocal sample and neck snapping drums—qualities that made Justin Smith famous in the early aughts—are brandished to apotheosis in this banger. Ross’s self-indulgent lyrics and paced-up flow, layered over Blaze’s sinfully joyous instrumental screams for attention.
28. Self Made
The MMG firestarters deliver a Michael Jordan performance over Just Blaze's lightning production, truly one of Self Made's and the crew's signature tracks. Only knock is that Ross didn't slide in a verse too.
27. fuck em
The Teflon Don elicited two hot verses by fellow MMG compadre Wale and Tity 2 Chainz for the club banger “Fuck Em,” producing one of the hottest records off of Rich Forever. Ross’s aggressive “FUCK EM ‘em” on the hook and nods to Bruce Springsteen made the track one of Ross’ catchiest.
Meek and Philadelphia vet, Beanie Sigel, teamed up on the title track of Meek’s critically acclaimed 2011 mixtape. Despite coming up in different eras of the game the parallels between the two are undeniable; fatherless upbringings on the streets of the City of Brotherly Love, jail bids, and coming up under the hottest rapper in the game are just a few of the similarities between the two that come to light.
Alternating piano keys and bass pave the way for Meek to flex on all his haters as he spits, “Stuntin’ all on my old hoes, stylin’ all on my haters/Presidential is rose gold, say it’s time to get paper.” Boasting about material goods isn’t anything new for rappers, but the former XXL Freshman does so in a reckless, urgent that fans have come to love from Meek.
24. TATS ON MY ARMS
Though this wasn’t included on any of Wale’s official projects, this rowdy cut quickly became a fan-favorite and live performance mainstay, while building momentum for the D.C. rhymer’s sophomore album, Ambition. In between a typically simple and chanty hook from Ross, ‘Le Folarin put his penchant for wordplay on display (“I got a green bag with them blue strands/Man I smoke that Marjorie Simpson”) to compliment general slick talk.
23. 9 piece
With ludicrous boasts of selling dope via his iPhone, Rozay is definitely in his zone, with Wayne adding some soft white braggadocio himself, rapping, "Fuck you mean I'm talking keys like Ray Charles / Rack 'em up, pool table full of 8 balls."
22. BIG BANK
When Rick Ross starts talking about feeding his fish ecstasy pills and giving sharks lean, you listen. Meek snaps and honorary MMG member, French Montana, contributes to the track’s over the top ludicrousness. Despite no Rozay verse, it’s a quintessential Ross record, inducing an involuntary squishy face in any listener.
It’s rowdy, riotous and incites madness every single time it blares from the speakers. With all the hits MMG has, “Rollin’” is pretty undeniable, as Gunplay can perform the track without anyone hyping him. With his high-energy, Gunplay turned this single into an instant crowd-pleaser and adding Waka Flocka Flame to the joint just took the song to another level.
20. Not A Star
The intro to Rick Ross’s Teflon Don is incredible. You’re immediately dragged into Ross’s crime-laced, cinematic world. J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League provides an 808-laced anthem that gets the listeners out of their seats. It’s an irresistible track with Ross’s fantastic adlibs and bizarre innuendo about million-dollar cars that "come alive." The track's flawlessly paced and builds up a momentum that’s beautiful debauchery, both musically and lyrically. There's no denying the celebratory grunt.
19. HOLY GHOST
The opener to Ross’ Rich Forever is a boisterous one, with Ross having visions of the Holy Spirit alongside him in his Bugatti, and then later, his Ferrari. Between lines like “My teacher told me that I was a piece of shit / Seen her the other day, driving a piece of shit” and Diddy praying to the lord for protection against “bitch ass niggas…and bitch ass bitches too,” the two industry titans blend their lifestyles of excess with biblical references seamlessly.
Before you go around thinking that Mr. Folarin is out here flossing about car shit, the Double M Genius instead keeps it true to his essence providing some ambitious bars alongside co-defendant Rozay, who passes the give and go hook.
Three first class tickets to the money finds Ross, Meek and Wale delivering an A-1 performance over the fittingly titled produced by Lee Major. It's on this cut—which released soon after the Maybach Music Group fold was christened— that proved just how fluid the chemistry was between the trio since becoming an official unit.
16. Tony Story
Over an eerie, brooding backdrop courtesy of frequent collaborator Jahlil Beats, Meek paints a vivid picture of a story of murder, sex, drugs, and revenge. Though Meek had already picked up steam with his hits off Self Made Vol. 1 “Tony’s Story,” showed Meek’s overlooked talent as a storyteller, drawing the listener in with each bar as Tony’s luck eventually runs up.
15. Rich Forever
Known for having a great ear for music, Rozay needed an R&B star on the hook of his title track off the successful mixtape, Rich Forever, to make the cut regal. The Bawse got what he wanted with John Legend, belting out, “And we gonna be Rich Forever!”
14. amen meek
"Amen" came as a bit of a change of pace for the Philadelphia rapper. Softening up his usual high energy bark, Meek teamed up with Drake and Jeremih to create a song with a lighter touch. Accompanied by organs and a choir, Jeremih also provides some background harmonizing.
Meek and Rozay punch in on this high voltage track off of Dreamchasers. Produced by Lex Luger "Work," is a quintessential hyped Meek record, with Ross's "Whoo" ad-lib backing him up.
12. THAT WAYwale
This joint, which reached number forty-nine on the Hot 100, notes the complications of having relations with women as an on-the-go rapper. Wale’s poetic nature dominates the first two verses while Ross takes the last verse softening up when he talks about a certain lady, while still including his boss like appeal. Jeremih of course dominates the chorus, giving this song a more soothing sound while still maintaining the MMG style.
11. Super High
Thank God DJ Clark Kent returned to producing, because this song proved why the game needs the DJ/record executive/producer’s soulful touch. Ne-Yo’s vocal spices up the chorus, while the infectious sample from Enchantment’s “Silly Love Song” is masterfully looped in the background. It strikes all the right chords, with Ross’ braggadocio-flaunting, materialism-inducing bars blast the listeners’ ears. An updated take on Mafiosi rap for the new millennium, the track lures the mainstream audience while not forgetting the purists.
10. TUPAC BACK
Rick Ross and Meek Mill pay tribute to 2Pac, referencing some of the things synonymous to the late rap legend’s career on the undeniable street banger. From All Eyez on Me to “Picture Me Rollin’”, Death Row and “Brenda’s Got a Baby,” Rozay and Meek salute ’Pac and keep his name alive. Hunngh!
“Ross grabbed alleged “Illuminati member” Hov, to collaborate on the smooth track “Free Mason”, expressing he was indeed “the child of God,” while Jay rejected any satanic ties. Released in 2010, the Teflon Don had another hit on his hands.
Meek Mill grabbed Young Chris for the instant hit “House Party,” the infectious jam that should be played at maximum volume with red cups and Ciroc in the mix for proper consumption.
7. MC Hammer
Referencing MC Hammer to boast about one’s wealth, accomplishment, illegal dealings and self-assessment is borderline brilliance. Gucci Mane’s mumbling verse aside, the song is full of delusional debauchery that’s partially amusing but mostly fascinating. Lex Luger’s cynical tirade on the boards perfectly complements Rick Ross’ gruff shouts on the verses. It almost makes you forget what happened to MC Hammer’s finances.
6. live fast die young
Clearly one of many gems off of Teflon Don, Yeezy and the Bawse's chemistry is undeniable. As Ross displays why his methods are mathematical and Yeezy allows his presence to bless you, the duo add a memorable collaboration under their belt.
5. Lotus FLower bomb
Joining MMG was a career changer for Wale. Despite the DC rapper’s well-received debut, Attention Deficit, Olubowale failed to amass mainstream success, even with a Lady Gaga-assisted single. After chanting “600 Benz” with Ross on Self Made Vol. 1, for his second album, Wale brought Miguel to assist him on the seductive and enthralling song for the ladies. It turned out to be a hit, reaching number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop category in Billboard charts, as well as asserting Wale’s position as a potential hit maker.
4. Tears of Joy
Rozay pours his heart out, like a preacher giving his sermon from the pulpit. “Looking in the mirror, but I don’t see much/Still running the streets, so I don’t sleep much,” is enough of an opening to grab listeners’ ears and pave the way for absolute rejoicing on Cee-Lo Green’s hook.
3. stay schemin
An instant hit. Whether it was Drake’s beef igniting verse directed at Common or French’s moaning hook, “Stay Schemin,” resonated with the public so strongly that even now, 6 months after it’s initial release, you’d be hard pressed to find a song that elicits a bigger response from fans when performed. The crowning jewel off Rich Forever landed on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released in April as a digital download on iTunes.
2. Ima Boss
One of two street anthems that helped turn Meek Mill into a star, the Philadelphia rhyme slinger enthralled listeners with his opening urgent lines, spitting, “Look I be ridin’ threw my old hood, but I’m in my new whip/Same old attitude, but I’m on that new shit/They say they gon’ rob me, see me neva do shit/’cause they know that’s the reason that’s gon’ end up on a news clip!” Then, Meek and Rick Ross trading “Ima Boss” for the hook makes it a certified street banger and one to remember for a long time.
Rick Ross’s career was thought to have ended when 50 Cent decided to go after the former correctional officer. Interestingly enough, there were no nails punched in his coffin. Instead, Ross managed to rejuvenate himself, all the while strolling through in a Maybach. “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)”—an acronym more famously known for the Black Mafia Family—was the ominous anthem conducted by Lex Luger that blasted during Ross’ march to reinvigorated stardom. It also served as a forewarning of his industry takeover. The record stands as the epitome of Ross’ portrayal as a drug kingpin. And this portrayal was embraced and enjoyed by millions of clubbers and concertgoers. “I think I’m Big Meech!”