Friday, June 10, 2011

Maybach Music Group – Self Made, Vol. 1 (2011) – Review

Maybach Music Group – Self Made, Vol. 1
The group is made up of label head Rick Ross’s three newest high profile signings: Wale, Meek Mill and Pill. Each has had their successes and failures before Ross brought them in (for example Wale released his debut album in 2009 Attention Deficit, which was one of the best hip hop albums of the year, but did not sell very well). This album is essentially a glorified mixtape, a little more polished sonically, but lacking great production throughout (though there are a few fantastic beats on it). That being said, it does serve as a great introduction to these artists and their rhyming skills – each with their own unique sound (personally I am a big fan of Wale, but Meek Mill has caught my interest due to this album). During the first listen-through, the album just sounds like a series of street-bangers in the mold of Ross’s own Lux Luger produced hits B.M.F. and MC Hammer, and certainly Ross played a major role in shaping the sound of this album and lends his voice to most of the songs in some capacity (after all he is the biggest name in MMG). However having gone through the album many times now, it offers a few chill and laidback grooves as well (reminiscent of a number of the track off Ross’s own Deeper Than Rap) that give the album a nice break.  It does not feature too many well-known producers, but Just Blaze and Lux Leger (producing the un-Lex Luger sounding That Way) each laydown a track. It also features a good list of hip hop’s hot MCs like Curren$y, J. Cole and CyHi Da Prynce lending verses. Some complain that Ross is trying too hard to get his MCs to do songs that sound just like his, but this is an MMG album, not a Pill, Meek Mill or Wale solo album (we will have to wait for their solo releases scheduled for 2011/12 to see how much Ross has indeed influenced them sonically). However, lyrically all three MCs touch on the material they are known for. While the album lacks great songs (though an argument can be made for Tupac Back and 600 Benz), it is solid throughout with really no bad songs or moments. For fans of the MCs, it should hold them over until the solo releases drop. 3/5

Editor’s Song Picks:
1)      Tupac Back – Meek Mill featuring Rick Ross, produced by Mike Will of Eardrummers
2)      600 Benz – Wale featuring Rick Ross and Jadakiss, produced by Cardiak
3)      Rise – Pill & Wale featuring Teedra Moses, Cyhi Da Prynce & Curren$y, produced by Cardiak

Available on CD and Digital Download

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