Maybach Music Group/WMG
For the most part, Rick Ross does make good on his word when it comes to putting out LPs, whether it’s his own, or compilations from his collective, MMG. With Wale’s Ambition approaching gold and Meek Mill’s buzz louder than ever, Ross deemed it appropriate to position his Warner-distributed label for another winning season by dropping a second installment of the popular Self Made compilation series, which welcomes new labelmates Stalley & Omarion. Missing here is last year’s MMG rookie and first lady, Teedra Moses, but truthfully, her presence was barely felt on the last one, so perhaps there are unique plans for her. At any rate, Volume 2 is here, as promised. How does it sound? Well…
The LP starts with “Power Circle,” an 8 minute posse cut that goes hard, especially since it features a verse from West Coast upstart Kendrick Lamar. Now, to kick a label compilation off with a posse cut from the label’s MCs was a great idea. However, to feature an outsider like Kendrick Lamar, who seems to have made it his short-term career goal to own every song he’s a featured guest on, was a bad idea. Great cut, though. Omarion’s debut on “This Thing of Ours” shows that he can make a comfortable home on the MMG roster, but this cut isn’t as strong as it could be, until Nas steps in and saves (and steals) the show. Stalley and Rozay’s “Fountain of Youth” is dope, as Stalley spits bars that validates his Twitter rant from a few weeks ago. “Bag of Money” with Meek Mill, Wale and Rozay, is definitely a highlight, but it’s been out for a second so it feels stale among all the unheard material. Omarion, aka Maybach O, goes for his on “Let’s Talk,” and it’s not bad at all, and the slick Biggie vocal sample gives his smash hit potential. The real surprise here, is Gunplay’s contributions. Aside from being the second best rapper on “Power Circle,” his “Black on Black” featuring Bun B just might be the sleeper hit of the summer. The closer, the T.I. featured “Bury Me A G” is strong, but it’s gravy, really, because at this point, the rest of the LP should have been satisfying enough.
Overall, the LP doesn’t hit as hard as its predecessor, and nothing here breaks any new ground, but it’s still dope. Add Vol. 2 to Ross’s winning resume, as it sets up the roster for another successful year. It’s now up to the individual artists to get into the lab and put together LPs that proves they deserve a spot on the elite MMG roster.