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Maybach Music Group, ‘Self Made’ — Album Preview

Maybach Music Group

The first offering from Rick RossMaybach Music Group rap crew is cocky, to say the least, but that might just go hand-in-hand with being ‘Self Made.’ On the 15-track effort, out today (May 23), the Bawse shows he’s the ringleader to hip-hop’s most thugged-out crew, but the boastfulness of selling drugs and having the guns, dollar bills and cars to prove it hits overload at times.

Comparing it to other recent label compilations (i.e. Young Money‘s ‘We Are Young Money’), it lacks the obvious radio-friendly hits and pop-nuances to hurl its signees into the throws of No. 1 status and secular mainstream recognition. But that doesn’t mean Ross and co. lack what it takes to be No. 1, at least on the hip-hop charts. There are several standouts on ‘Self-Made’ — the album’s title track, the Malcolm X shout-out ‘By Any Means,’ the gun-slinging ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ and the in-your-face ‘Ima Boss’ for starters. “It’s MMG — the dream team,” Meek Mill raps on the opening track, and the dream team goes in hard.

With Mill, Wale, Pill and the not-to-be-overlooked Teedra Moses — Moses adds a gorgeous softness to MMG’s gritty delivery throughout ‘Maybach Music Group Presents Self Made, Vol. 1′ — still working on each of their own MMG debuts, this serves as a little taste of what’s to come, with each Rozay protégé giving a little background search into their lives. ‘Self Made’ comes off as an above average compilation, and the album’s opening statement is the lasting impression you get after a spin: “I like this Maybach Music.”

Maybach Music Group

1. ‘Self Made’ (feat. Wale, Meek Mill, Pill, Rick Ross and Teedra Moses)
Produced by Just Blaze

The album’s biggest anthem kicks things off with the “MMG dream team” — Wale, Meek Mill, Pill — relaying tales of their come-up into the throws of hip-hop headlines over a punchy Just Blaze snare beat. While Rick Ross takes a back seat, only boasting “self-made” and “born to win” ad-libs here and there, MMG’s First Lady Teedra Moses “ooh’s” over rhymes like Mill’s “Motivated just from being broke/ Had a dream like Martin Luther, little bit of hope …”

2. ‘Tupac Back’ (feat. Meek Mill and Rick Ross)
Produced by Mike Will, Eardrummers

Mills and Rozay come in hard, switching off on a post-apocalyptic beat from Mike Will and Eardrummers. “There’s all these britches screaming that Tupac back,” Ross raps, but something seems to be missing from this track. While the album’s title track served a purpose, this attempt at comparing Mill to Tupac falls short and works better as a shout-out to one of the game’s best rappers.

3. ’600 Benz’ (feat. Wale, Rick Ross and Jadakiss)
Produced by Cardiak

Benz’s aren’t the only hot rides mentioned on this album; Ross makes sure everyone knows he big rims it with two Aston Martins ( on ‘Pacman’) and likes the flashy Bugatti. The most interesting thing about this song — and the following three tracks — is how similar the beats all sound, not much of a departure from Ross’ hit ‘B.M.F.’ “600 Benz, Condo 600 grand/ I got 12 hundred kicks them straight from Japan,” Wale gloats.

4. ‘Pacman’ (feat. Rick Ross and Pill)
Produced by Young Shun, DJ Spinz

Things don’t change much sonically from the dark, cryptic straight-out Gotham City sound blaring on the previous two bangers. Instead of rapping about the Dark Knight, which would be more fitting, Pill and Rick “King of Diamonds” Ross build on their gangsta street cred, rapping on this Young Shun and DJ Spinz-produced track about “what they sellin’.” Hint: You can fry it in the pan.

5. ‘By Any Means’ (feat. Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Wale and Pill)
Produced by Lil’ Lody

Originally titled ‘Malcolm X,’ Rozay taps on the subject of religion in hip-hop, rapping, “As-Salamu Alaykum Wa alaikum as salaam/ Whatever your religion, kiss the ring on the Don.” There are multiple lines in reference to the life of the late Muslim minister and human rights activist, and how religion lead him away from crime, but the history lesson gets washed out by MMG’s ironic money laundering lyrics. Shout out to Wale who gets a little witty on his verse, rhyming, “On the Bible you Koran but you can’t hide.” One of the album’s standout tracks.

6. ‘Fitted Cap’ (feat. Wale, Meek Mill, Rick Ross and J. Cole)
Produced by Raz

The intro on this how-to-dress-like-you’re-self-made track — if you’re wondering: “My Jordans high-top, snapback fitted cap” and “My Levis, they 501, my snapback is hella bent” — sounds like the album is finally heading in another direction, but alas returns to the all too familiar gritty, drumline beat, despite the J. Cole assist here.

7. ‘Rise’ (feat. Pill, Wale, Teedra Moses, Cyhi Da Prynce and Curren$y)
Produced by Cardiak

MMG switch things up here, finally. Taking a more R&B approach with an old soul sample. Cyhi Da Prynce and Curren$y add to the “self-made” theme rapping, “It was my only wish to rise, all them jealous mothaf—ers I despise” on the chorus. The second Cardiak-produced track on the album, the beat is a complete 180 from its predecessor.

8. ‘That Way (feat. Wale and Rick Ross and Jeremih)
Produced by Lex Luger

Jeremih helps keep things quiet on this Lex Luger-produced slow burner for the ladies. Wale shows off his softer side, rapping about a 22-year-old he met in Seattle, sounding like competition for Trey Songz when he spits, “You’ll probably find someone but you’ll never find another Wale.” On his verse, Ross also raps about his own groupie, “At baggage claim awaiting miss thang outta St. Louis/ Know she shining bright, got on my Cartier, she my Billie Jean we menage with Mary Jane.”

9. ‘Ima Boss’ (feat. Meek Mill and Rick Ross)
Produced by Jahlil Beats

Mill speeds it up again on this synth-heavy look-at-me anthem, rapping that he calls the shots. The Philly rapper gives a more personal account of his upbringing: “I never had a job, you know I had to sell yay.” Bawse doesn’t seem to mind his protégé and ‘BloodHounz’ MC wearing a crown too, dropping in for a verse.

10. ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ (feat. Pill and Gunplay)
Produced by the Inkredibles

Hands down, one of the album’s best tracks. If MMG want to make some more of those bills they rap so much about, they’d be smart to make this one of the album’s radio singles. Produced by the Inkredibles, Pill goes hard, delivering retrospective lyrics about rolling with a gun in his pocket all his life over a gospel-laden backbeat. As cool as MMG make their glocks and the thug lifestyle sound throughout ‘Self-Made,’ P.I. double L comes off the wiser of the young up-and-comers: “I can’t pull my gun away/ I run the streets with yay/ But please don’t let me go/ I can’t have no fun today/ Police takes me away/ But please don’t make go.”

11. ‘Pandemonium’ (feat. by Wale, Meek Mill and Rick Ross)
Produced by the Inkredibles

The Inkredibles deliver again on this street huslin’ track. Mill delivers the best lines on the lead single for the album, which already sports a music video.

Watch Maybach Music Group’s ‘Pandemonium’

12. ‘Play Your Part’ (feat. Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Wale & D.A. from Chester French)
Produced by the Inkredibles

Chester French songwriter D.A. sings the chorus on this wildly different track. Mill, Wale and Ross rap between his Adult Contemporary croons on the chorus. The song’s dynamics work well together, and make it ‘Self Made”s most pop-friendly track.

13. ‘Ridin’ on Dat Pole’ (feat. by Pill)
Produced by Raz

This is Pill’s ode to the stripper. He starts with a very detailed discription of the “Crique de Soliel s—” he likes to see on the pole. Raz delivers the beat, which is a return to the techno, drumline tempo of the album’s earlier tracks. While it’s one of the album’s shorter songs, ‘Ridin’ on Dat Pole’ is by far the dirtiest, and we mean that good kind of dirty.

14. ‘Big Bank’ (feat Pill, Meek Mill, Torch, Rick Ross and French Montana)
Produced by Young Shun, Lex Luger

Ross starts things off on this one, and keeps things flowing with verses between each feature, which include Torch and French Montana on ‘Big Bank.’ Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers even gets a shout out on this one.

15. ‘Running Rebels’ (feat. by Wale, Meek Mill, Stalley and Teedra Moses)
Produced by Tone P

Great ending to a long album that delivers on what you paid for. Moses’ whispery singing — she provides the chorus with “City lights got me on another level, feelin’ alive tonight …” — and horns add a glittery element to a track that sounds like it was made for cruisin’ around with the top down. Stalley — a rapper rumored to have been signed with MMG’s but later denied reports — shows up on what will most likely be his biggest track to date.

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