Maybach Music Group Presents: Self Made Vol. 1 (Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill, Stalley, Pill)
Released: 23 May 2011
MMG Self Made backstory
After the success of Teflon Don, Rick Ross made a power move to add depth to his Maybach Music Group roster.
Previously, MMG mostly consisted of street rappers, but Ross made a huge move when he allegedly attempted to sign Wiz Khalifa (who turned the offer down and signed with Atlantic instead). Ross then signed Wale, then a popular underground rapper who blew up the mixtape circuit with his Mixtape About Nothing series and then showcased his mainstream potential on the Waka Flocka and Rosoce Dash laced-single “No Hands”. This Wale sign alone put MMG on the map, because their roster now hosted another notable rapper other than Ross (Gunplay hadn’t reached solo mainstream notoriety yet and the Triple C’s were largely underground).
Ross continued to stack his deck, signing Pill, a respected gangsta rapper from the South and Meek Mill, a top 11 freshman (both recognized in XXL Magazine’s Freshman lists). Later on, Ross would sign Stalley (who only appears once on this album). Stalley was previously affiliated Dame Dash’s DD172 imprint. Fans and critics alike saw the new potential in MMG, and soon a major concern arose – how will they all sound cohesively, together? Will Wale outshine the rest of the group? Will Wale and Stalley even fit in? What will Meek Mill bring to the table? These questions are answered…
Self Made (feat Teedra Moses): 5/5
600 Benz: 3.5/5
Tupac Back: 3/5
By Any Means: 2.75/5
Fitted Cap (feat J.Cole): 2.5/5 (Not even Cole can save this song, such a lacklaster effort from him. At this point in the album, the aggressive trap-style production becomes overkill)
Rise (feat CyHi Da Pynce & Curren$y): 4.5/5
That Way (feat Jeremih): 4.25/5
Ima Boss: 4.25/5 (The beat is incredible, but Meek Millz is un-listenable to)
Don’t Let Me Go (feat Gunplay): 4.5/5
Play Your Part: 5/5
Ridin On Dat Pole: 3.25/5
Big Bank (feat French Montana): 2.5/5
Running Rebels (feat Teedra Moses): 5/5
Total: 3.9/5 Instead of doing a traditional write-up on the album, I’ll instead key in on the MMG roster’s singular performances on this album:
“Can’t put my soul in this bullshit music yall condone
Fuck, Ima count all these duckets
Ima keep my integrity, yall can keep all ya budgets” – Wale
It’s ironic that Wale says this on the album outro “Running Rebels”, since many of his fans felt that he indeed sold out for exposure and money by signing to Ross and performing these trap music-esque songs.
Wale shines brighter than anyone else on this album, even Rick Ross, but, like the rest of the new MMG signees (Pill and Meek Mill), his lyricism takes a spike when he raps over the signature MMG trap music beat. The quality of his verse takes a significant nosedive – it’s even more evident when you hear a song like “Running Rebels” or “Play Your Part”, where Wale is rapping is at its best. Wale is the best rapper in MMG and it won’t be long before he gets bigger and branches out into solo work that outshines everyone else in the group.
Wale’s performance on Self Made Vol.1: A, even his worst verses on this album sound cohesive and he sounds at home on every track he’s featured on, whether his elitist fans like it or not. He adjusts well to Rick Ross’ style of music.
It seems as if every song with a low rating is a song that Meek Mill is featured on. Coming into this tape he had a lot to prove – being labeled simply a “battle rap” freestyle-type artist after making it onto the XXL Freshmen 10 List.
Meek disappointed me on this tape. While he can be a good lyricist at times, it just seems that he’s out of his element and/or comfort zone on this tape. Not to mention he’s pretty much screaming over all of these aggressive beats, which makes his features a bit hard to listen to. I really enjoy “Ima Boss” though.
Meek Mill’s performance on Self Made Vol.1: B-
Pill is probably the most unknown of the group, but those who do know him, likely know him from his 1140: Overdose mixtape from 2010. Pill sounds incredibly comfortable over this production and rapping alongside Rick Ross. The MMG sign was the best situation for Pill since he’ll be fed production that compliments his style, as opposed to his label-mate Wale, is forced to adjust to these traps beats (because aggressive production is not what he usually raps over). Pill didn’t stand out, but he certainly got the job done.
Pill’s performance on Self Made Vol.2: B-
Meanwhile. Ricky Rozay subjects himself to hook-duty most of the album, letting his new signees take most of the verses – and I have no problem with that. Most of Rick Ross’ hooks are servicable. The newest MMG member Stalley only has one verse on Self Made Vol. 1 because he signed after the album was pretty much complete, but his one verse is on a 5 star song, “Running Rebels“, so his future looks to be optimistic!
Although I, along with other Stalley fans, don’t think his transition to these aggressive-style beats will be smooth at all. Only time will tell. (Ed. Note Dec 2018 – it wasn’t.)
Overall, MMG made a lot of noise with this album (both figuratively and literally thanks to Meek) and the end result is great trunk music. While the booming production style from tracks 2 through 6 does get tiring, it does its job in providing system-rattling beats. I expect nothing but bangers from this group in the future.
Final Verdict: ★★★1/2: Very good; a few bland songs or minor flaws throughout.