Why Wale would ride with the Maybach Music Group

13 Dec

The MMG Logo

Recent posts on Wale’s twitter feed have sparked rumours that the D.C.-based rapper is to be unveiled as the latest signee to Def Jam’s Maybach Music Group (MMG). Should it emerge that the label has managed to persuade Wale away from the management of Jay-Z’s ever-strengthening Roc Nation roster, it would be seen as a significant coup by the label that was only founded in 2008. So why would such a move be considered by both parties?

For MMG, the signing of Wale indicates the label’s ambition to no longer rely on the success of their flagship artist Rick Ross, who founded the label himself in 2008: Of the three albums released so far under MMG, two have been Rick Ross albums (2009’s ‘Deeper Than Rap’ and ‘Teflon Don’ in 2010) and have sold close to 1million copies combined in the USA, whereas the label’s other release, ‘Custom Cars & Cycles’ by Ross’ group Triple C’s in 2009, sold less than 15,000 copies in its first week in the USA, much to the hilarity of Ross’ long-time adversary 50 Cent:

Whilst Ross’ compatriots in Triple C’s (Gunplay, Torch and Young Breed) have since been laughed off as mere ‘weed-carriers’ to Ross – as is the traditional labelling in hip-hop with the artists that generate the least sales and interest yet remain signed to the label (such as Busta Rhymes’ Flipmode Squad affiliate Spliff Star) – the same could not be said for the likes of Wale, who received critical acclaim for his Seinfeld-themed 2008 mixtape ‘The Mixtape About Nothing’, and already has a major label album release in 2009’s ‘Attention Deficit’. With an artist who could hold his own weight, MMG would not have to depend entirely on Ross’ sales to function, which would certainly please the Island Def Jam record company that MMG branches from. Another commercially-viable and critically-respected artist on their books would also provide MMG with more of a selling-point to attract more big-name artists to the label, and perhaps one day rival the powerhouse lineups of Roc Nation and Lil Wayne’s Young Money crew.

For Wale, a move to MMG would see a considerable increase in the attention paid to his projects by the label he would be working under. Despite featuring superstars of modern music in Lady Gaga and Pharrell Williams, ‘Attention Deficit’ was undershipped and resulted in the relatively underwhelming first week US sales of around 25,000 copies. Although managed by Roc Nation, the label’s priorities are likely to lie with the label’s signed rappers Jay-Z, Jay Electronica and J.Cole (who featured on ‘Attention Deficit’), and so perhaps it would be in Wale’s interests to become a big fish in a small pond, as would currently be the case in a transfer to MMG.

Of course, this remains a Twitter-based rumour that hasn’t been commented on further by either Wale or Rick Ross, but the move itself makes sense and the potential projects that the combination would create (particularly with productions of regular MMG collaborators J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, who have also worked with Wale previously) are enough to whet the appetite of many rap fans.

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