"All we know how to do is be self-made," Rick Ross declared last night (Wednesday, June 13), at an exclusive listening session designed to unveil tracks from the sequel to Maybach Music Group's first collaborative album, "MMG Presents: Self Made Vol. 1."
Well-versed in manufacturing a spectacle as seen with their press conference last month, the members of MMG -- Ross, Meek Mill, Wale, Omarion and Stalley -- chose Bronx's gentlemen's club, Sin City, for the evening's proceedings, transforming a run-of-the mill press gathering into an exhibition of excess that visibly ran the attendees' comfort zone gamut.
"June 26 is the official release date for 'Self Made 2,'" Ross reiterated to the room before handing the mic over to DJ Khaled to introduce each track, one-by-one. After nodding to Power 105's DJ Self -- who spun back-to-back MMG favorites for the preceding two hours -- Ross saluted the album's core contributors who were also present: MMG, Gunplay, and Bad Boy's French Montana.
Drake, Busta Rhymes, DJ Scoob Doo, Fred Da Godson, and Warner Bros. Records and Def Jam label execs
-- Def Jam President, Joie Manda, Senior VP Shawn "Pecas" Costner, Senior VP of Marketing Chris Atlas -- also convened in support of the project that kicks off MMG's string of summer releases. Upcoming MMG projects include "MMG Presents: Self Made Vol. 2" (June 26), Meek 's debut album, "Dreams & Nightmares" (August 28), and Ross' highly-anticipated, "God Forgives, I Don't," out July 31.
Though in an untamed atmosphere with dancers' shift-assignments announced every so often over the PA system, MMG's music still managed to project growth. A balance of hard-hitting street anthems like "Actin' Up" and "Black On Black," featuring Ace Hood and Bun B, co-exist with smooth, R&B-leaning tracks, "M.I.A" and "Let's Talk," courtsey of their new acquisiton, Omarion. Verses from the album's featured marquee artists were finally revealed and stand-out flows from Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Nipsey Hu$$le, Wiz Khalifa and T.I. commanded head nods.
Whether or not intended, MMG gave all a Petri dish peek into their fast lives. Hosting the "Self Made Vol. 2" listening session at Sin City -- where French shot "Everything's A Go" -- the scene was set. The braggadocio-laden cuts were unleashed in the same atmosphere that births them. But for those examining the landscape a bit closer, the celebratory vibe was oddly juxtaposed by some of the rappers' own subdued temperaments.
Omarion and Stalley spent much of the evening on their cells, albeit standing on couches in the VIP section. Meek politely declined repeated advances from the female staff members. Not long after an intoxicated female associate became visibly ill, Noah "40" Shebib and Drake, who had kept a parental watchful eye on her, were escorted out the building appearing relieved. Drake left a smiling French behind to hold down the section that stood just below of the rabid VIP area.
Cocktail waitresses donning tuxedo bustiers were instructed to "make it sparkle" on command. The dancers shook their lady parts while performing their best tricks, attempting to catch eyes with MMG and their entourage. Watching the ladies' efforts go unnoticed was telling considering the environment. Rap clichés permeated the room and were, in turn, absorbed through all five sensory channels of those invited as a majority of the rappers, themselves, seemed not the least fazed.
Celebratory events like yesterday's listening are a recent mainstay for the Maybach Music Group conglomerate and friends. Last month, they took over New York to celebrate Omarion's MMG signing, Meek's birthday and their headlining slot at Hot 97's Summer Jam. Whether work or play, it would appear that the MMG movement is in full-throttle.