Lyrics, not beats take the front seat on this 14-track effort. Maybe Ross isn't trying to feed the listener a club banger or an overproduced hit. Therefore Vol. 2 becomes more an album for the rap fan to dissect than move to in the club. However, the lyrics get redundant about packing coke or how many ways Mr. "Square-Root-of-a-Kilo-Is-Me" can tell you he has more money than you. The album's saving grace is the conscious raps by MMG's own Stalley and Wale.
Check out The BoomBox track-by-track breakdown of the album below. While we're not going to award this album five stars, we will say Ross and his crew leave much to be desired for a Vol. 3.
1. "Power Circle," Gunplay, Stalley, Wale & Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross & Kendrick Lamar
Rick Ross starts the nine-minute album opener by toking in honor of the late King of Pop. "If Michael Jackson came alive right now, he'd ask you to smoke one for him." Why? We can only presume its because the release date of the album comes almost three years ago to the day of MJ's untimely death. Following Rozay's lead, each MMG member (except Omarion) takes a turn at the mic. The hip-hop opus focuses on the group's lyrical prowess over a piano-heavy, Lee Major-produced beat. Wale drops the best line: "There's a difference between underrated and hasn't made it." Guest MC Kendrick Lamar chimes in on the last verse and gives a little taste of his reality: "I know that section eight wanna discontinue my Moms/ When they heard that Ohio state gave me 30 racks in July." Kendrick, it's time to by your mama a nicer place.
2. "Black Magic," Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross
Rick Ross once lit a stack of money on fire, so when he raps, "poof, a hundred mill, David Copperfield," on this gritty Meek Mill-assisted track it's hard not to believe that he can make a hundred milli disappear. We also can't help but question if this track might be a dig at 50 Cent and his shelved "Black Magic" album. Following the more radio-friendly "Power Circle," "Black Magic" flips a switch on the vibe of the album, reverting to the predominantly menacing, post-apocalyptic beats of Vol. 1.
3. "This Thing of Ours," Wale & Omarion feat. Rick Ross & Nas
This synth-heavy Nas feature shows that Ross and his crew aren't afraid of trying something new on Vol. 2. They experiment with delivery and Omarion croons in between each rappers' verse like Drake on "Forever," except "This Thing of Ours" comes nowhere near the greatness of that 2010 track.
4. "All Birds," Rick Ross feat. French Montana
Rick Ross does cocky best, but he gets bragging help from coke rapper French Montana here. The Bawse dishes his net worth ($50 million, if you were wondering), and drops gems like "All my CDs gold but the Visa darker," and "Last problem I had, a n---- head-shot him," which really doesn't put Ross in a good position if they were to reopen the case of the shooting at his Miami mansion this past February. For his part, Montana does what he does best: rap about all the cocaine. "No luggage in the trunk, man, it's all birds." We'll take a cab, thank you.
5. "Actin' Up," Wale & Meek Mill feat. French Montana & Rico Love
This is one of the three tracks Ross doesn't appear on. Wale, Meek Mill and French Montana rap a not so sweet song about their exes, complaining that their "hoes be actin' up." While Kanye West poked fun at baby mama drama on "Gold Digger" in a way that made it a fun, international hit, this bunch just degrades the opposite sex with lackluster puns: "Want to Kobe me, want to Humphrey me, want to Michael me, Russell me, take me to the bank and Tiger me." Props to producer Rico Love for stepping out of the box with an opera sample that adds a little gothic flare to the album.
6. "Fountain of Youth," Stalley feat. Rick Ross & Nipsey Hussle
Stalley, MMG's youngest MC, shows he's got potential in joining the ranks of conscious rap's elite on this mellower and more sentimental Vol. 2 track. The Ohio-bred rapper's lyrics are obvious about his Nas influence: "These rap books buried in gold/ The treasure of a million men, Versace shades trimmed in gold." Cardiak, who produced two of the grimier tracks on Vol. 1, returns to the table here with a piano-driven beat that even has the three rappers chillin' out on the hook. "Lost in the instrumental/ Keys got me sentimental," the rhyme.
7. "I Be Puttin' On," Wale feat. Wiz Khalifa, French Montana & Roscoe Dash
Wiz Khalifa never fails when he's helping out. "I'm Puttin' On" is a wake up call that adds a little feel-good to the thug mentality on most of Vol. 2. Khalifa gets it. After all, not everyone that wants to like this album has a rap sheet. "My fan base consist of n----s with drugs around 'em/ Educated sisters to bitches dancing with ones around 'em," the Pittsburgh native raps. However, it's French Montana who provides the wittiest reference on the Boi-1da-produced track: "Wanna hit the fans, selling work on the Internet -- call it Instagram."
8. "The Zenith," Wale & Stalley feat. Rick Ross
Along with "Power Circle" and "I Be Puttin' On," this track is the closet thing to a club banger on the LP. The track warrants replay. Stalley, Wale and Ross keep in theme, rapping about how they are self-made over a punchy Harry Fraud beat.
9. "M.I.A.," Omarion & Wale
Omarion takes the reigns on this track and switches the mood, making things steamy and sexy like a song from The Weeknd. "Got her in her underwear/ Gave her what she want, now she need me/ I got more of that coming over soon/ Lingerie all up in my room," he croons. Wale jumps in at the end to add a little bit of hip-hop to the R&B, but it's too brief to be necessary.
10. "Bag of Money," Wale & Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross & T-Pain
The first single off the album features T-Pain and has Rick Ross daydreaming about money and ladies, but all in one. "That bitch bad, looking like a bag of money," Rozay raps on the hook. We're not sure if a gal would appreciate being compared to a bag of money literally, but if we're talking all dressed up and down in diamonds, it's probably not a bad thing.
11. "Let's Talk," Omarion feat. Rick Ross
Something tells us Omarion's real motive on this one is something that involves no talking. A play on Salt-N-Pepa's "Let's Talk About Sex," Maybach O tries to pick up ladies at the club and is pretty convincing on this Ayo-produced R&B number. While Ross drops a rap towards the end, it's the Notorious B.I.G. -- his lyrics are sampled from "Big Poppa" like "Ask you what your interests are, who you be with?" -- that keeps popping up between Omarion's pickup lines.
12. "Black on Black," Gunplay feat. Ace Hood & Bun B
Gunplay, Ace Hood and Bun B go hard over another Beat Billionaire beat, professing their love for all things black: Amex Card, guns, black Hennessy, even black hats and of course black Maybachs.
13. "Fluorescent Ink," Stalley & Wale feat. Rick Ross
Stalley and Wale wax poetic about their love life. "Womanizer admittingly, but mind you I'm deep," admits Wale. Money talks but according to the track's hook -- "the ink is why they feel me" -- being a rapper is why the chicks really flock to their side.
14. "Bury Me a G," Rick Ross feat. T.I.
While T.I. still preps his first post-prison album, Trouble Man, due later this year, he drops a line for the MMG team. Tip caught some slack for this feature -- rapping about guns after serving time for gun possession isn't exactly a bright idea -- but the ATL rapper can't erase his past and he's sure to give a shout out to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, aka ATF.
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