Various Self Made 3

VariousSelf Made 3
The Maybach Music Group isn't Rick Ross's crew; it's a respectable business venture, with the rap kingpin's popularity and intelligence as the foundations. The label's third compilation exemplifies its roster's versatility and varied appeal, as the differences between Ross, Meek Mill, Wale, Gunplay, Stalley, Omarion and most recent signee Rockie Fresh surprisingly form a cohesive mosaic. Confusingly though, the project features a pair of double appearances — from Fabolous and French Montana — and is littered with stellar guest spots on key cuts from the likes of Lupe Fiasco ("Poor Decisions"), Lil' Boosie ("Lay It Down") and J. Cole ("Black Grammys"). This clouds the purpose of the release, as the attention to the MMG boys will be diluted, but the trade-off brings better songs, bolstered by the presence of the outsiders. It's a worthy sacrifice, as the record's listenability will, in the long run, end up giving an underrated guy like Stalley (who shines on the honey-smooth, Kebu-/Childish Major-produced "Coupes & Roses") a better chance of making an impression. The first Self Made was a collection of ready-made bangers, the second felt like a casserole of leftovers, while this one thrives on the evolution of the stable, with even Ross returning to the enthralling contradictions between conscious and gangsta that carried his masterpiece, Teflon Don. While the label's moves have always felt strategic, Self Made 3 suggests that the main plan has pure, simple intentions: develop talented artists and release good music. (Maybach/Warner)