Tupelo, Mississippi. The birthplace of Elvis Presley, EDM mastermind Thomas "Diplo" Pentz and brothers Khalif "Swae Lee" and Aaquil "Slim Jxmmi" Brown, more likely known as the rap duo, Rae Sremmurd.
Bursting onto the scene in 2014 with their certified platinum single, "No Flex Zone,"
Rae Sremmurd has been known for only one thing since that moment, turning up.
Under producer and father-like figure Mike Will Made-It, the duo released Sremmlife in 2015, debuting at #5 on the Billboard 200.
SremmLife, while lyrically simple, got the job done in terms of what its message was: Getting the party started. “Lit Like Bic,” “Unlock the Swag,” “This Could Be Us,” “Come Get Her,” “Up Like Trump,” “Throw Some Mo,” and, “No Type,” are all anthems that were played in every club across the country for an entire year. The album was a flaming success to say the least, even landing the number three slot on Complex Magazine's top 50 albums of 2015 list.
At first listen, the album immediately has a lot darker feel to it, seeming to take place during the aftermath of the party that was Sremmlife.
The first track off the album, "Start a Party," in itself is perplexing. While the lyrics scream, party anthem, the beat doesn't get close to matching the exuberant energy the brothers are putting out, leaving the listener confused if they're going to actually, "Start a Party," or just take a nap.
"Real Chill," "Look Alive," and "By Chance," follow with dark produced beats that allow Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmie to rap in a lean-induced dialect, differing from anything that they have done before.
"Black Beatles," the fifth track on the album featuring Atlanta legend Gucci Mane, is by far the best offering with Swae Lee delivering unexpected vocal range on the chorus:
"That girl is a real crowd pleaser / Small world, all her friends know me / Young bull livin' like an old geezer / Release the cash, watch it fall slowly / Frat Girls still tryna get even / Haters mad for whatever reason / Smoke in the air, binge drinkin' / They Lose it when the DJ drops the needle."
Accompanied by two members of the Mount Rushmore of crunk music; Lil' John and Juicy J lend their voices to, "Shake it Fast," and "Set the Roof." For those looking for any reminiscing pieces of
Sremmlife, these two songs are the closest that you are going to get to that.
The album takes a real turn leading into, "Came a Long Way," "Now That I Know," and "Take it or Leave it." These songs range in lyrical depth from coming up in poverty stricken Mississippi to trying to move on from a girl they just can't quite forget.
Like a boxed subwoofer, this album has a lot more added space in the songs, letting the duo breathe and hit harder in shorter bursts. But like Views (2016) by Drake, Sremmlife 2 had such lofty expectations with its release that it was almost inevitable it wasn't going to live up to the hype.
While enjoyable, Sremmlife 2 isn't the smash hit that Sremmlife was, and that's okay. The Brown brothers are growing up and no longer need to scream to get their message out to the world anymore. With recent news that Swae Lee is going solo with his upcoming project, "Swaecation," this might be the last time you hear from the duo in a long time.
Take advantage while the duo is still together and see them on their upcoming tour with Lil Yachtyhere.