Self Made Vol. 1

In the half-decade since his debut hit, "Hustlin'," Rick Ross has grown from a second-tier drug rapper into one of hip-hop's steeliest MCs. Now he's a mogul, and by the sound of this showcase for three rappers he signed to his record label, he's a good one. Meek Mill offers gruff gangsta-isms; Wale flaunts his sleek bohemian-hardcore style on bragfests like "600 Benz." But the real find is Pill, who steps up to the major leagues without taking the street-level grit out of crack-trade tales like "Pacman." Ross pops up throughout, adding his booming voice and knack for terse disses: "Fuck a blog, dawg, 'cause one day we gon' meet."

Listen to Self Made Vol. 1:

Gallery: Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos

From The Archives Issue 1133: June 23, 2011