Just about as surprising as LeBron James’s “decision” to take his “talents to South Beach” and play for Pat Riley’s Miami Heat was Wale’s decision to take his talents to South Beach and rap for Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group. The Heat are now less than four wins away from winning a championship, and though MMG’s success currently is not parallel, the potential to get there one day is presented in the group’s debut album, Self Made Vol. 1.
The compilation that consists of a total of 15 tracks is allocated into five sections. First and foremost is the newest group members’ bit. The section gets underway with track 1, “Self Made.” Wale replies to critics of his decision with his opening line, “They tried to tell me I don’t fit up in this motherf—–. Cause Rozay be talking white. He think he Uncle Ruckus.”
Apart from Wale proving he can fit anywhere, the song is symbolic of the recurring motif throughout the album of Ross being just the overseer of the group in order to allow them to become self-made in a sincere manner.
Rozay shares his thoughts before Wale’s verse and in the chorus, but he does not contribute a verse to the song or many others. That is a noble gesture that not even Lil Wayne, who collaborates with Ross often, was able to do in his record label’s compilation, “We Are Young Money.” Young Money’s album came off as another Weezy album with a ton of features by friends, while MMG’s compilation exudes an album of nothing but Rozay’s friends with a few Ross features.
By Any Means
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The other four tracks of MMG’s bit are “By Any Means,” “Fitted Cap,” “Rise” and “Big Bank.” By Any Means has an inventive hook and is rapped over a great beat like all of the tracks, but it is all but tarnished by the fact that Meek Mill and Pill both referred to themselves as a “house n—-,” which is a bit bemusing since Malcolm X is the premise of the song. The unyielding revolutionary would not have worked the field or in the house, let alone be enslaved, by any means.
Into the bargain, Fitted Cap is an entertaining track, yet it could have done without J. Cole who shockingly failed to live up to the consistent, lyrical excellence I expected of him. Further, “Rise” is the first song listeners are sure to skip entirely or fast-forward to 2:51, which is when Wale’s verse starts that includes the imaginative line, “Leaving with eight b—-es. I need some octopus.”
Comparatively, Big Bank seems to be a combination of “Fitted Cap” and “Rise”. Like “Fitted Cap”, it has a crippling feature, which, in Big Bank’s case, is French Montana. Similar to Rise, one is sure to skip the track, but, unlike Rise, there is no Wale verse to fast-forward to.
To boot, Meek Mill’s section comprises of three songs, “Tupac Back,” “Ima Boss” and “Pandemonium.” Tupac Back” is in contention with Tyler, The Creator’s “Yonkers” for this year’s “Milli,” the most used instrumental to freestyle over. Other than that, this is certain to be the lone time Meek Mill and Tupac will be in the same sentence. Still, all of his tracks are gratifying, even though he is outdone by Ross in Ima Boss and by Wale in Pandemonium.
Besides Meek Mill is Pill who diversifies the compilation in his bit. His song “Pacman” is similar to any other MMG track, but “Don’t Let Me Go” is the album’s sole gritty record and “Ridin’ On Dat Pole” is the “strip club” record.
By and large, MMG’s LeBron aka Wale’s section goes without saying. He executed in every single verse on the album, including his three songs, which explains why he is on 9 of the 15 tracks while Meek Mill and Pill individually appear in only 7.
At any rate, the group refers to themselves as the 1993 Chicago Bulls and 1992 Dream Team. Both teams won a championship, making the reference premature. Calling them this year’s Miami Heat is too, but that does not mean they will never be. If you ask me, “I like this Maybach Music. Ssswwweeettt.”