Album: Self Made, Vol. 2
Label: Maybach Music Group LLC / Warner Brothers Records, Inc.
Release Date: 6/25/2012
When the first Maybach Music Group compilation album was getting ready to drop just over a year ago, there were still many questions surrounding Rick Ross’ camp. Could they co-exist? How would Wale fit in with the street hustler personas of the rest of the crew? Would Meek Mill live up to the hype? So on and so forth. Now, over a year removed from all of those uncertainties, Rozay and friends have put the haters to rest. Wale adapted to and adopted some of The Boss’ signature swag, which lead to his sophomore album debuting at number two on the billboard charts. Meek Mill didn’t just live up to the hype, he exceeded it thanks to hit singles like “House Party” and “Ima Boss.” And it is clear from the success of Self Made Volume 1 that the MMG conglomerate has no problem co-existing with one another. With all of that being said, it’s easy to see why MMG is the hottest team in the game right now, and obviously that title comes with high expectations. So, did the Maybach Music Group meet those expectations on their second compilation effort, Self Made Vol. 2? The answer is primarily yes as Self Made Vol. 2 in large part follows the same formula that Self Made Vol. 1 did – a cohesive mixture of laid back luxurious sounding tracks combined with a collection of trap bangers that are guaranteed to blow up heavy in the streets.
Before we jump into things, there are a few roster changes to make note of on Self Made Vol. 2. Pill is no longer affiliated with MMG, therefore isn’t on the album and is replaced by Stalley. Handling the majority of the hooks on Self Made Vol. 2 is MMG’s newest member, former B2K front man Omarion. Ross took a step forward by parting ways with Pill, as he was definitely the weak link on the last Self Made album and didn’t really bring anything unique to the table. Unfortunately all that progress was derailed when Rozay out of nowhere decided to sign Omarion. Ross spits on joints with people like Usher, Drake, and Trey Songz and probably could have had any of them singing these choruses and he goes and picks Omarion? However, the man now known as Maybach O does his best on songs like “Let’s Talk” and “This Thing Of Ours.” “Let’s Talk” features a kind of cheesy sample of some lines from The Notorious B.I.G’s “Big Poppa” but is bound to get spins on the airwaves and in the club, while “This Thing Of Ours” does a good job of incorporating some of those same radio friendly elements with lyrically stellar verses from Wale and Nas.
Nas is just one of two OG’s featured on the album (The other being Bun B on “Black on Black”) however there are plenty of scorching hot young guns that round out the rest of the guest slots. Kendrick Lamar outshines the whole MMG crew as he kills his verse on the albums opening track “Power Circle” and French Montana and Wiz Khalifa do their thing on the song “I Be Puttin On” which kind of sounds like a distant cousin of “Stay Schemin.” Other MCs featured on the album include Ace Hood, T.I. and Nipsey Hussle.
Now on to the biggest boss that you’ve seen thus far, as no Maybach Music project would be complete without a sufficient amount of Rozay. Like Self Made Vol. 1, Self Made Vol. 2 has a surplus of trap rap cuts where Ross belts out a chorus the same way he’s been doing since “BMF.” Last time it was “Tupac Back” and “600 Benz”, this go round it’s songs like “Black Magic” and “Bag Of Money” that are sure to make their way through the streets and through the airwaves. Like many hip-hop fans, I was really getting tired of the trap sound that has been dominating the genre for the past couple years, that is until I heard Self Made Vol. 2’s final track “Bury Me A G.” Sonically speaking there’s nothing that separates this track from the thousands of other gritty trap songs out there, however it is Ross’ words that make me want to go ham every time I hear them when he repeats the line “If I die tonight I pray I get buried in clean draws”. What a Boss line. Isn’t that all we can really ask for? No one wants to be laying up in a coffin for the rest of eternity in some dirty @ss draws.
On the flip side of things, it is Wale and Stalley whose job it is to slow things down, chill things out and spit with a more introspective type of steez on joints like “Fluorescent Ink” and “The Zenith.” While he’s a still step up from Pill, Stalley’s work on Self Made 2 is slightly inconsistent. Perhaps I’m being a tad too critical but I expected a little more from the Ohio MC after he raised the bar for himself with that dope Savage Journey To The American Dream mixtape.
One aspect of the project that I haven’t really discussed thus far is the production. That is because it is the one of the few areas of Self Made Vol. 2 that leaves room for improvement. The beats on Self Made Vol. 2 are by no means terrible, but they aren’t necessarily that great either. They are simply average, which might be okay for any other crew, but when you’re at the top of the rap game like MMG is and you enlist cats like Boi-1da, Don Cannon and Harry Fraud to make your beats, you better make sure they are at the top of their game. Can’t say that’s the case on Self Made Vol. 2.
However, aside from the production, Self Made Vol. 2 meets the expectations that come with the status that MMG currently holds. This album outshines its predecessor and further solidifies the MMG brand and serves as a reminder that until someone, weather it be G.O.O.D. music, Young Money, TDE or whomever decides to step it up a notch, that when it comes to conglomerates, Maybach Music Group still sits atop the throne of the rap kingdom.