It’s really not complicated. In and of itself, Self Made Vol. 2 is a decent album that should find relative success, but this isn’t just about album sales. This is about ensuring that not a month goes by without rap bloggers like yours truly writing about a MMG affiliate…or affiliates. This is about building an empire, and in that case we might as well begin calling Rick Ross the Emperor.
Self Made Vol. 2 Album Review
In fact, I don’t know if anyone has mastered marketing in the digital era better than Rick Ross and the Maybach Music Group. Capitalizing on the internet’s seemingly insatiable thirst for new content, MMG produces songs, videos, teasers, vlogs, tweets, you name it, at an astounding rate. And at every turn the MMG family is as coordinated as a SWAT team: a trailer for Ross’ upcoming God Forgives, I Don’t plays before the video for Meek Mill’s Take U Home, also featuring Wale. Every move is plotted and planned.
Considering Ross’ military level organization, MMG’s new compilation album Self Made Vol. 2 can’t be seen as merely a “compilation album”. This isn’t just a collection of MMG tracks, this is an ad for both Ross and Meek Mill’s upcoming albums, a way to deepen the public's familiarity with Gunplay and Stalley and introduce the crew’s newest member, Omarion. (And, by default, wave goodbye to Pill.) Ross knows he’s pushing a product, and he’s careful to make sure Self Made 2 at least meets his quality standards. In other words, there are no surprises here. Do you like what RossMillWaleStalleyGunplay has put out in the last year? Then you’ll like Self Made 2.
Like many, when I pressed play on Self Made 2 I was on the lookout for bangers. You know, the undeniably addictive BMF/I'ma Boss/Tupac Back tracks that demand speaker blowing. On that level I was disappointed. Black Magic was clearly intended to be that track, but despite a booming beat and a hilarious hook from Ross, Black Magic just doesn’t hit as hard as I’d like. Black on Black and Bury Me A G have to also be in the running, but as hard as they roll, they just don’t have that intangible quality, that je ne sais quoi, that makes me still play the hell out of MC Hammer. Poof, there goes an album without a hit
Somewhat (but not that) surprisingly, Self Made 2 focuses primarily on more smoothed out fair and exercises in lyrical flexing. Power Circle gives Gunplay, Stalley and Wale minute long verses that they fill with well crafted penmanship…until Kendrick Lamar shows up on the back end and puts them all to shame. (But what else is new?) Fittingly, the other offerings featuring the well-bearded Stalley are even more slow and contemplative; from the jazzy Fluorescent Ink to the subdued and R&B infused Zenith, these are the calms in the storm. And as long as we’re touching on MMG’s soft(er) side, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I didn’t really understand Omarion’s signing when it happened, and I still don’t now that I’ve heard M.I.A. and This Thing of Ours. They’re both decent tracks for what they are, but Omarion doesn’t just sound like the crew’s little brother, he sounds like the little brother they only let tag along because their mom insists.
It’s really not complicated. In and of itself, Self Made 2 is a decent album that should find relative success, but this isn’t just about album sales. This is about ensuring that not a month goes by without rap bloggers like yours truly writing about a MMG affiliate…or affiliates. This is about building an empire, and in that case we might as well begin calling Rick Ross the Emperor.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins