Buzzing Atlanta based duo Rae Sremmurd offer more than enough reason to wild out on their Interscope debut SremmLife. Turn-up anthems “No Flex Zone” and “No Type,” became two of the biggest singles of 2014 due in part to the two’s association with mentor Mike WiLL Made-It and his Ear Drummer Records imprint. The Tupelo, Mississippi natives have seen Billboard Hot 100 success along with remixes from Nicki Minaj, Pusha T and Lil’ Kim; further contributing to viral success. As the first official Hip Hop release of 2015, brothers Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee tread many trends within their grand introduction. Almost every inch of Atlanta Rap is represented within the project’s 45 minute runtime. That includes iLoveMakonnen’s spaced-out weirdness, sinister trap records similar to another frequent Mike WiLL collaborator Future and the stylized strip club standards Gucci Mane has been known for.
Defining New Atlanta right now, Mike WiLL is behind the majority of SremmLife’s uptempo sound. As the pool of beatmakers from The A keeps expanding, Mike WiLL is the established veteran of his class despite earlier known work with Miley Cyrus and Future. For SremmLife, he digs deeper into Hotlanta’s underground aesthetic to service eleven tracks of boundless energy. The results are entertaining more times than not. Opener “Lit Like Bic” features Lee giving listeners a glimpse of his current life of opulence: “Lit, lit, lit/Lit like Bic/Sremm Life shit/Been in by 6.” Over guitar strums and booming 808s, the intro sets a tone for young rap stars attempting to top whatever epic night held previously. “Unlock The Swag” works in their favor due to Mike WiLL’s haunting beat, complementing their demands of swag activation. Poppy ambitions more homologous with collaborations with Cyrus are more apparent on romantic ode to chasing females on “This Could Be Us.”
The duo has often been compared to this generation’s Kid ‘N Play or Kriss Kross, mainly for their youthful jubilance and chemistry. Jxmmi and Lee play well off each other as they experiment with vocal pitch, catchy hooks and display of machismo in verses. Atlanta rappers typically like to think left-field, choosing to step outside of their creative box in order to execute less linear ideas in Hip Hop. While room is now available for rappers like Young Thug, Rae Srmmurd’s uniqueness lies in their ability to offer different moods. There’s the head-nodding, aggressive “My X” that disses former significant others(“Now I’m with my next bitch, and you just another name on a checklist”), introspective rags-to-riches rhymes through “Yno” and frantic reminders of their nonchalant spending “Up Like Trump.” When paired with seasoned emcees Nicki Minaj, Big Sean and Thug, they’re in full flex mode; even delivering hotter lines than their guests at times.
One possible fault of SremmLife is catering to an audience more interested in the Spooky Black info than a Wu-Tang album. References to party drugs, spin the bottle, Fast & Furious and potentially 2015’s first big viral phrase (“safe sex and paychecks, that’s what it’s all about”) display one amazing, endless time for the “EarDrummers Backwards” boys. While SremmLife is thin on substance, it’s built for clubs and late night adventures. Perfect for the time where sunglasses and Advil are eventually needed.