Crew albums are typically a mediocre affair. The purpose of their existence is understandable: the label superstar or CEO has amassed a group of artists that he
wants to make a quick buck from believes has talent, and such a compilation allows each member of the crew to shine. More often than not, though, these discs are haphazard showcases for what would otherwise be throwaway tracks.
Rick Ross Maybach Music Group managed to defy the trend of terrible compilations two years in a row with the first two volumes of the Self Made series. However, as with all franchises that run just a tad too long, the disappointing third installment shows signs of fatigue, with uninspired performances, unnecessary guest appearances, and lackluster production.
Self Made, Vol. 3 begins on a promising yet somber note. The intro is a celebratory ode to success from Lil Snupe, a young New Orleans MC who was murdered earlier this year. Its a nice tribute to the fallen soldier, whose life was tragically cut short before his full potential could have been explored.
Things go downhill sharply from there. Gallardo, with its tinny beat, vulgar chorus, and speeding car sound effects, is a laughable attempt at re-creating last years smash hit from Kanye Wests G.O.O.D. Music camp, Mercy. The song features Ross, rap vixen Trina, Memphis dope boy Yo Gotti, and MMGs secret weapon, lyrical trapstar Gunplay; despite being the songs sole bright spot, Gunplay cant salvage this hackneyed effort.
Meek Mill and cohorts Omelly and Young Breed offer their version of the ol’ “robbing the coke connect” tale on the cliché-ridden The Plug, which features one of the poorest Spanish accents ever committed to wax. Breed reappears on Lay It Down, a boring collaboration with Ross and incarcerated Lil Boosie that not only fails to get one hype, but also includes a rather insulting and clumsy shout-out to Trayvon Martin courtesy of the Bawse. And lets not forget theres a song titled Kilothree guesses what its about, and the first two dont count.
Fortunately, not all of Self Made, Vol. 3 is terrible. Meek Mill reminds listeners that theres Levels to nearly every facet of his flamboyant life on over a boisterious track. Stalley, who curiously only makes one appearance on the entire album, waxes poetic about materialism on the lush Coupes & Roses, and label stars Wale and Mill shine brightly with guest J. Cole and newcomer Rockie Fresh on the rousing Black Grammys.
In fact, the artist who fares the best on Vol. 3 is Fresh. The Chicago MC appears on three more cuts, including the intense What Ya Used To, the Jake One-produced Great Americans (featuring Ross, Gunplay, and Fabolous), and recent single God is Great. These tracks also come during the latter half of the disc, and help leave a lasting impression.
With only a few gems are sprinkled here and there, Self Made, Vol. 3 is by no means exceptional. Its merely a chance for Ross to show off his labels newly acquired talent (most of whom will likely be relegated to shelved status) and officially release songs that otherwise would have ended up on a mixtape. Although it’s titled Self Made, this project comes across more as do-it-yourself.
God is Great (Rockie Fresh)
Black Grammys (Wale featuring Rockie Fresh, Meek Mill, and J. Cole)
The Great Americans (Rick Ross featuring Gunplay, Rockie Fresh, and Fabolous)
Coupes and Roses (Stalley)