Rick Ross is one of the hottest artists in the game now and of course when you're on top you have to establish your own label and last year, Ross officially did that last year with Self- Made Volume 1. On it he officially introduced Meek Mill, added Wale into the fold and also featured Miami artist Pill as well. A new year and some slight changes have been made, Meek has an album coming up and huge buzz, Gone is Pill whom you can say has been replaced by Stalley and his super beard, and also a welcome comes to Omarion in an unlikely pairing. Simple to say there is a bit riding on this for some of these guys to see if they deserve the new spotlight.
Ross' voice is the first thing heard after the trademark 'Maybach Music' lady on "Power Circle". The track has a toned down Ross style beat that is designed for the artists to get their shine on. While he isn't officially a member of MMG, Gunplay aka Don Logan gets the first verse and he is slightly subdued. Stalley drops a very strong verse especially for those who are unitiated in his style, Meek Mill holds the song down as the clean up artist but Wale's verse is the strongest as he comes into the album with a lot to prove. Kendrick Lamarr ends the track with his unique style. "Black Magic" a Meek Mill solo track features the standard Ross hook and backdrop. "This Thing of Ours" is a mafioso wanna be song that features Rozay himself and Nas. Wale also handles a verse and Omarion sings the cliched chorus. French Montana is a guest on "All birds" which is a mostly Ross song, and Frenchie is ok on there. He also features alongside Wale and Meek on "Actin Up" about women getting too big for their britches.
"I Be Puttin On" has the required southern album Roscoe Dash hook and includes Wale, French, and Wiz Khalifa. This song could have been just tossed onto a mix tape somewhere or just deleted altogether. Omarion has his 'song' with "M.I.A." and Wale shows up again to offer assistance. Stalley is the main MMG artist on "Fountain of Youth" but Ross opens it up and it closes with an appearance by Nipsey Hussle. The verses from Stalley and Nipssey are solid but the hook is lazy and awkward even for a 'rap hook'. Stalley and Wale continue their verbal assault on "The Zenith" and Ross gives his best verse of the album on the song and even that's pretty average. By now, everyone has heard the lead single "Bag of Money" and Ross opens it with the phrase "money over everything" which I hate to my core. The song is redeemed slightly by my boy T-Pain.
Gunplay pops up again on "Black on Black" with support from Bun B and Ace Hood. There also was a video for "Let's Talk" with Omarion and Rick Ross which has a mean track and use of a Biggie sample. This would have been better with Trey Songz but Ross found a way to keep the money in house. "Flourescent Ink" is a track designed for the soulful styles of Wale and Stalley. Wale throws MMG into too many verses now, we believe you, you're signed to them we get it. The album ends with "Bury me a G" which features T.I. and Rick Ross and Tip does his normal flow thing and outshines Ross who is doing his best Gunplay impression and fails at it.
Albums like this are inherently uneven as they often force some combinations together in an effort to manufacture cohesion. This compilation manages to avoid most of those pitfalls but thats mostly because it's a Wale album featuring everyone else. His album sales were lackluster but Wale is only challenged by Stalley creatively within this collective. Meek Millz has plenty of energy but he could have been on a couple of tracks instead of Ross who tries excessively hard to keep selling this image of a gangster type kingpin. It goes overboard and takes away from his talented proteges who truly can shine on their own. It's not a bad album but it also isn't completely memorable. It's too many verses I wish to skip around to pretty much get to the Wale or Stalley parts. The other thing is Wale has to focus on keeping to his point and not try to make himself be more like Ross or Meek and for god's sake stop dropping the MMG letters in every song.