Rick Ross must have been one helluva chess player in a former life. His ascension to power and status as the hottest act in the rap game is a result of strategic planning from everything to calculating who to beef with to devising a formula that works into his increased star power. After his in-house cabal, the Triple C's, failed to make a blip on the radar after following his lead, the gravelly-voiced executive fell back and regrouped.
Deeming outsourcing to be the best move in strengthening his empire, Ross went out and snagged proven yet unrealized talent to keep the Maybach Music Group afloat. The new breed consists of three consecutive generations of XXL freshmen in Wale, the scribe from D.C. majoring in ambidexterity; Atlanta, GA's very own Pill, a slumdog mentality built inside a kingpin rhymer; and Meek Mill, whose scrappy delivery embodies the same Philly streets responsible for his comeup. Under Ross' tutelage, they release Self Made, Vol. 1. Their first venture as an unit as well as the label's flagship project hopeful.
Self Made, Vol. 1 is largely a standard operation, subscribing to the lowest common denominator in terms of song topics and beat selection--which include ace cards such as Just Blaze, Lex Luger and The Inkredibles all contributing noisy arrangements to the equation. The clique fires on all cylinders at random, particularly on <a href="http://smokingsection.uproxx.com/TSS/2011/05/new-music-wale-feat-rick-ross-meek-mill-and-pill-by-any-means">"By Any Means,"</a> as they paraphrase Malcolm X over relentless bass and charged deliveries from each respective member.