The Maybach Difference: How Wale, Meek Mill, and Rick Ross Overcame Early Failure To Find Success
With all the limitations facing today's music industry, it's rare that any artist gets a second chance. This is especially true in the ever-changing world of hip-hop where if an artist, especially on a major label, doesn't immediately finding an audience, they're soon shuffled back into the over-saturated mixtape scene or indie-rap underground and seldom heard from again. That's why it's nothing short of astounding how Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group has not only successfully relaunched rap careers, but made artists left for dead by other labels among the most popular in the genre.
[UPDATE: We've just gotten word this show has been cancelled.]
But how do they do it? Ross is often celebrated for his keen ear for beat-selection, does this mean he has a discerning taste for discovering untapped talent too? With the Maybach Music Group taking over the Roseland Ballroom Sunday for a concert featuring MMG members Wale, Meek Mill and Rick Ross essentially taking a victory lap, we decided to take a look back at the difference MMG has made to their careers.
In the late 2000s, Wale was one of the genre's most promising new artists. Charismatic, poignant and creative, he seemed to have all the tools ready to be Washington DC's first breakout rap star. After his 2008 "Seinfeld"-tribute mixtape The Mixtape About Nothing, he seemed positioned to make 2009 his year. Unfortunately, his major label debut Attention Deficit failed to connect with any substantial audience.
But why didn't it work? If anything, Wale had stripped away his more regional esoteric aspects (gone was his Go-Go-backed live show) and collaborated with everyone from Lady Gaga to underground rap hero Brother Ali to expand his fanbase. Following Attention Deficit's underwhelming performance (which label Interscope chalked up to under-shipping the album) Wale focused on touring until a guest spot on Waka Flocka Flame's monster hit "No Hands" catapulted him back into the mainstream rap landscape.
Once it seemed Wale was capable of success again, Maybach signed him in early 2011 and helped shaped him into the popular artist he is today. A quick viewing of the above "I'm Chillin'" and "Ambition" videos shows a world of a difference. Under the Maybach tutelage, Wale altered his approach to rhyme-writing into a style that both emphasized his more appealing aspects, and noticeably toned down his potentially alienating slant rhymes. His Maybach debut Ambition, also revealed a substantially more focused sound. Instead of trying to reach as many fanbases as possible, Wale found his own lane and saw his personal following grow as a result.