Alas, after months of constant hype the debut album from The Maybach Music Group is finally upon us. However, with the exception of a few tracks, Self Made Vol. 1 is a disappointing project that suffers from repetitive production and a serious lack of chemistry between the collective composed of Wale, Meek Mill and Pill, who are all consumed by the larger than life shadow cast by their leader, the big boss Rick Ross.
From the flow to the lyrics to the swag, there are many instances on Self Made where Pill, Meek Mill and Wale try to emulate Ross’s whole demeanor. With lyrics like “Im saving major loot / Make my old b*tch buy me all the latest shoes / One whip just ant enough I just seen 33 / You only half a W without a second V” it is clear that Wale is trying to pull off his best Rozay impersonation on “600 Benz“. However, it just does not work. Wale is aware that his steez is different from that of his MMG peers. He addresses it in the first line of the entire album on the Just Blaze produced title track when he spits, “They try to tell me I don’t fit up in this motherf*cka”. But Wale does “fit up in this motherf*cka” when he comes with that DMV flow rather than trying to imitate the boss. He does so on tracks like the catchy cut “Play Your Part” when he spits, “I try to love ‘em in the physical not literal / She said she love me but what I’m feeling is miniscule / I understand that Prada lives in her inner soul / So the devil that droves in her got in control”. Wale has the strongest verse on “Play Your Part” because he is rapping about women, a topic which he is quite familiar with. He also shines on the Jeremih assisted “This Way” for the same reason. Wale is the best MC in the group other than Ross, but he does himself no justice when he spits about the quality of his whips and the quantity of his paper.
Meek Mill and Pill on the other hand are notorious for spitting about those types of topics, and they do so on the unoriginal track “Big Bank”. “Big Bank” is nothing special lyrically and the production is even worse. The beat on “Big Bank” sounds dreadfully similar to the production on “Pacman” which sounds exactly like the beat on “B.M.F.” (off Teflon Don). Just because Ross had a crazy hit with “B.M.F.” doesn’t mean his whole team can repeatedly ride the same wave and be successful. But back to the lyrics for a minute, because unlike the beats, there are some lyrics on Self Made that do stand out. Of course there has to be a song called “Ima Boss” on the album. “Ima Boss” features Meek Mill annoyingly yelling as listeners patiently wait for the true Boss’s verse to drop. When Ross does grace the track, it is well worth the wait. Listeners are quick to forgot about Meek’s portion of the song as his verse just doesn’t even compare to Rozay’s boss bars that begin with “Got so many shades they thought I had a lazy eye / Shawty roll me smooth as my Mercedes ride / No love cry when only babies die / And when I go that casket better coast a hundred thou’”. “Pandemonium” is one of the few flawless tracks, and one of the only tracks where Meek spits on the same level as Ross. He does so with clever lines like “You would think I had a curfew the way I’m goin’ in”.
Pill, perhaps the least notable member of the crew, ironically is the only one who has a song without any of the other MMG members. In fact he has two if you include the smooth sounding “Don’t Let Me Go” with Gunplay from Triple C’s on the hook. However his other solo joint “Ridin’ On Dat Pole” is a song that can only be enjoyed if you’re at the strip club.
Cameo’s from Curren$y and CyHi Da Prince save the day on the track “Rise” but even a verse from J Cole can’t rescue the song “Fitted Cap” from yet another banal beat.
Self Made Vol. 1 definitely didn’t live up to the hype that proceeded it. With Ross behind the wheel, Wale riding shotgun and Meek Mill and Pill lucky to be in the back seat, Self Made Vol. 1 makes the untouchable Maybach Music Group sound more like the very vulnerable Toyota Camry Conglomerate. But at the end of the road, being a boss is about the bills, and Ross and company are bound to succeed regarding revenue. Everyone in MMG is capable of crafting great songs when in their respected lanes, but Self Made epitomizes the music industry in the sense that it displays how unified star power is a more profitable product than naturally authentic music.
2.5 Mics Out Of 5 Mics