The thing with sequels is that people always want an answer to this inevitable question: “Is it better than the original?” This time around the sequel is titled “Self Made: Vol. 2” and the stars are Stalley, Wale, Meek Mill, Omarion and of course Maybach Music Group creator Rick Ross.
I admit I had serious doubts (and even a few jokes…B2K?) about Omarion joining MMG. But honestly he proved me wrong. He adds a nice and subtle approach to a lot of the tracks. On his solo track “Let’s Talk”, Omarion sings, “I ain’t selling no dreams/I ain’t telling no lies/That dress so cold/but that body on fire.” And what makes this track particularly special is that it uses a Biggie sample from the song “Big Poppa”. Come on…Who doesn’t love a good Biggie sample?
Stalley is underrated but after this album that may be no more. His solo song “Fountain of Youth” is actually one of the best songs lyrically on the entire album. “Laces in my blue chucks/Represent my bros first/Staring at my Rollie Bezel as I soul search/Run this money marathon ’til my soles hurt/But no materials could measure what my soul’s worth.” He made a believer out of me.
I’m not a huge fan of Meek Mill but he held his own. I can see his solo song “Black Magic” being a club banger. It’s the shortest song on the album (2:54) which will hold the attention of all the party people. But he delivers his best lines to me on “Actin Up” with Wale and French Montana. “Hold your horses/polo horses/Aston Martin/We roll in Royces.”
Speaking of Wale, his star shined the brightest on the album. His solo song “I Be Puttin’ On (feat. Wiz Khalifa, Roscoe Dash and French Montana)” is nice but I think I’m just getting annoyed with hearing Roscoe Dash singing on hooks. “This Thing of Ours” with Omarion and Nas is clearly a stand out song for him. “I’m a loose cannon, screws damaged/And I do think hip-hop need some newer standards/Hardest working conglomerate /And that’s word to my mama.”
And this brings me to the man, the myth, the boss: Rick Ross. He is on every song (no surprise there) and his delivery on each track is what the Maybach brand is all about. On the track “Bury Me A G (featuring T.I.)” Rozay spits, “If it go down tonight look out for my mama/Been robbing my whole life/I gotta look out for karma.” Another track that he slays is “All Birds (feat. French Montana)”: “I got Lears and all-don’t need Aaliyah problems/May she rest her soul/I got a sleeping problem/All my CDs gold but my Visa darker/Bastard child but I got a fleet of cars.” I would love to see both of these released as singles. They would race to the top of the charts in no time.
As a whole the cast all worked well together on songs, playing off of one another which is hard to do on compilation albums of this caliber. It was smart of them to kick off the album with “Power Circle (feat. Gunplay and Kendrick Lamar)”. They couldn’t have picked a better song. Wale supplies the best line: “We don’t deal with weak squares in this power circle!” It sets the stage for the entire album. So the question remains “Is it better than the original?” When it comes to “Self Made: Vol. 2”, I think the answer may be yes.