To most, Maybach Music Group appears as one of those groups who certainly look the part, but don’t have that quality about them that makes them standout. However, with Self Made 2, the five-headed beast looks to change that. With their second LP release in a little over a year, the fleet led by Rick Ross seeks to establish themselves as one of the most determined circles in the game right now.
The record opens up with “Power Circle,” a marathon of a track with baton hand-offs from Ross to Stalley, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, and Meek Mill. While The Bawse takes the reigns at the start, the rest of the crew adds some great verses to bolster— with K-Dot and Stalley as highlights.
Beat-addicts such as Harry Fraud, Cardiak, and others are recruited to hop on instrumentals, and are a testament to the crew’s understanding of the importance of texture and character behind their vocals. My favorite assembly of sounds comes on “The Zenith” (Prod. Fraud), a clear contender for smoothest on the disc, and “I Be Puttin’ On” (Prod. Boi-1da), my choice for best song on the album. Garbage beats have no place on Self Made 2, clearly a Ross influence on the album.
“Fountain of Youth,” with its down-tempo, almost relaxing Cardiak beat, is one of the smoother joints. The trio of Ross, Nipsey, and Stalley sound like they were born to collaborate on a song like this.
Continuing, while there are always evidential traces of Ross choosing flow over substance (“I made a few hits / my bank account Jewish”), we all should know by now that this is Rozay being Rozay. It would be a bad thing for anyone else, but not Ricky Ross.
Unlike MMG’s past project (Self Made, Vol 1), I think this collection is a much better example of a cohesive group of rappers— attribute this to ring leader Rick Ross’ decision to add Stalley and a few others to the label and leave behind hard-hitter Pill. With that, I think the chemistry within MMG has never been better, even with a few visitors laying down some guest verses from time to time.
Guest emcees Nipsey Hussle and Nas incorporate themselves effortlessly on “Fountain of Youth” and “This Thing of Ours.” Even ATL’s T.I. managed to sneak a verse onto concluding track “Bury Me A G.”
MMG has historically been viewed as the cool kids on the playground, with Ross, the leader of the pack. They are the ones you could never be cool enough to chill with. While Self Made 2 still gives off that vibe, it’s evident that confidence and attention to detail now go hand in hand for MMG. I’m not saying they’ve drastically changed, but maybe matured. As a result, the song quality throughout the album leaves for few generic fillers.
Point being, Ross has equipped MMG with the right talent using his knack for just knowing which direction he should point the group in. They are on the verge of pulling away from the field with their near constant growth and expansion.
I’ll concede G.O.O.D. Music has that creativity MMG lacks, but with three more individual releases due out this summer, Maybach has looks to have a chokehold on the competition for some time. Also, don’t even bring up Cash Money Records, they have been on life-support for months in my mind. But anyways, try to keep an open mind and give this LP a listen. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.