Maybach Music Group, now ironically named after a defunct auto trademark, shows no signs of losing traction. Over the past few years, the tight-knit group of artists, namely Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Wale, and Stalley, have transformed the rap landscape with their constant supply of Ciroc and Luger beats. In "Power Circle," the group calls upon the Knights of the Round Table as a guiding motto, a circle that cannot be beaten when joined together. Adding up-and-coming Kendrick Lamar to the mix, each provides their own "sword," a series of volatile and passionate verses on life and pain.
6. Gunplay: "I'm at the round table, where your seat at? / Where your plate, where your lobster, where your sea bass? / We ain't never left, actin' like we back / You should see us now taking pictures acting like we rap"
Gunplay is quick to reflect on his former street life and his current celebrity. With a reference to King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, Gunplay holds his clique close by, defending the luxury life and their music. Typical foods of the executive class, fancy fish and shellfish, are Gunplay's everyday, so much that he makes them just another part of the hood. In reality, Gunplay is no different now than he was then, taking the finer things in life, his crew, and his normal style and taking them back home.
5. Stalley: "It's funny how they come for me when they see me living comfortably / But when I was broke and sleeping on floors they ain't want nothing from me / My future's so bright but my past so ugly / And I just try to correct it all but it all still haunts me"
Stalley came from a less typical family situation that his peers, raised in a fairly stable household by his mother. However, his fatherless childhood and frequent sports injuries sidelined his major plans, significantly altering the path of his life. After years of struggling, he is just now gaining the recognition he deserves. Stalley, like Gunplay, notes the continual problem of fame: old friends. Before, nobody cared for Stalley, leaving him to work alone to fame. Now, everyone returns, seeking his wealth and celebrity. In it all, nightmares of the past and future leave Stalley utterly alone, depending only on his circle, MMG, to push forward and upward.
4. Wale: "There's a difference between underrated and hasn't made it / Once you successful they relentlessly giving you hatred / There's no applause for you and success is hard for you / There's enemies, envy, with green my n***as lawnmower"
Coming off of the relatively successful second debut, Ambition, Wale immediately returns to the same material. The burden of success and fame is a constant supply of critics, ready to call out minor flaws and provide volleys of drive-by hate. Wale sees two tracks to fame: one with those who deserve great success, and one with those posing and putting on an act. No matter what, critics will seek to rip apart celebrity, threatening the theme of knightlike brotherhood throughout the song. Finally, capping the lines, Wale draws upon the familiar "snakes in the grass" adage, noting that his crew is ready to expose and eliminate the haters.
3. Rick Ross: "The square root of a kilo is me n***a / Do the math, I'm a motherf***ing G n***a"
Ross may fail math class, but the impact is the same. Any way that you cut him, Rick Ross remains a player in the game and an influence on his market. The actual square root of 1000, a literal kilo, is roughly 31, but the impact of the line is not diminished. You cannot have drug trade, much less rap, without Rick Ross squarely in the middle.
2. Meek Mill: "Look at my persona, I dreamed it, woke up and conquered /And there was commas after commas, I eat 'em like Benihanas / Put the shrimp over the pasta, the pasta over the lobster / And the lobster over the table, power circle a mafia"
Providing yet another rap mention of Benihana's fine Hibachi restaurants, Mill shares the same influence as Gunplay. Starting off a thug, Mill sees no difficultly in simply becoming a baller. Literally piling up luxury and wealth, Meek is out to make money, live his own life, and stay dedicated to the "power circle" of Maybach Music. But really, Benihana's?
1. Kendrick Lamar: "I know that Section Eight wanna discontinue my moms / When they heard that Ohio State gave me 30 racks in July / Oh Lord, this can't be life, no it can't be life / When they day breaks and you earned them stripes and you learned that strike"
Kendrick brings up a classic problem of the hood rapper: wealth ends government benefits. Although Kendrick is making good money from rapping, it does not necessarily go back to his family. When his mom loses her Section Eight housing benefits due to Kendrick's rapping, the family has to be supported by the son alone. Mo' money, mo' problems indeed.
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