Release Date: Jan 6, 2015
Record label: Interscope
The hip-hop purists are mad as hell. You can spot them easily with their wooden jewelry and shea butter oils. Or perhaps they’re those large fitted cap-wearing nostalgists who get aroused at the thought of the 1990s with the same carnal fervor Republicans feel for Ronald Reagan. Fact of the matter is, the fun, party-centric, generally meaningless strain of rap is closer to hip-hop’s original roots than their favorite conscious rapper or the it “bringing New York back” artist.
Looking like a combination of Kriss Kross and Das Efx while sounding like neither, Tupelo, Mississippi rappers Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy came on hard in 2014, taking Migos' bright style of trap music and adding a little of David Banner's sway to the bottom end. They aren't so gangsta, and their early hits came with arguably "positive" messages when compared to folks like Chief Keef, as the brilliant "No Type" ("I ain't got no type/Bad bitches is the only thing that I like/You ain't got no life/Cups filled with ice and we do this every night") is a booty-fueled ode to keeping one's mind open, while "No Flex Zone" believes it's better to be a "trill ass individual" than a crowd follower. That latter hit put Rae Sremmurd (or Ear Drummers backwards, a reference to producer Mike WiLL Made It's record label) on the cover of a Marvel comic book relaunching Captain America as a racially diverse title, and in this case, the hype machine and talent work in tandem as SremmLife surrounds its hits with worthy follow-ups.
"Better run for cover!/Might run for governor!" Rae Sremmurd inform us on their debut. By the time the words leave your speakers, you're ready to make a campaign contribution. This brother duo from Elvis Presley's hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi, radiate an inescapable exuberance, shouting with the zeal of freshly minted stars as they build off the joyous bounce of last year's hits "No Flex Zone" and "No Type." Producer Mike Will Made It's phantasmagoric funk is a perfect backdrop for rhymes about safe sex and paychecks, emptying out the ATM, and the raw thrill of making it big: "Tokyo drift through the hills/Used to have to walk, no wheels." This feels more like flying.
Last year, buoyed by effervescent hits like the anti-stunt anthem "No Flex Zone" and the jarring synth pound "No Type"—a song revered by composers and bloggers alike—Rae Sremmurd became a household name despite the fact that people have had a hard time figuring out how to say "Rae Sremmurd". SremmLife, their debut LP, floats with a singular energy, a culmination of the group’s 2014 coming-of-age. While trying to build an album of stuff that’s approximately as good as "No Flex Zone" or "No Type" is a tall task, SremmLife hurdles the hype machine with infectious rap music.
Review Summary: Mike WiLL Made-it’s triumphant return. It probably says something about the transience of current pop culture and whatnot that Sremmlife can be touted as Mike WiLL Made-it’s return to hip-hop’s pantheon. Despite basically owning 2013 (and arguably 2012 as well), making an especially large splash by providing the hip-hop underpinnings of ex-Disney starlet Miley Cyrus’ pop-charts-smashing Bangerz, the young producer (Michael Williams, age 25) spent most of 2014 outside of the spotlight, quietly assembling an army of other young producers (EarDrummers Entertainment) before making a play for re-recognition via his protégés Rae Sremmurd.
Last year, party rap duo Rae Sremmurd dropped the inescapable, unmistakably youthful bomb known as "No Flex Zone. " An ode to the accompanying emotional sentiments of the bicep emoji, the response to brothers Swae Lee's and Slim Jimmy's sing-along anthem fuelled an uneasy "one hit wonder" feeling amongst rap fans. Then, Rae Sremmurd delivered an arguably bigger followup, "No Type," solidifying the brothers as genuine breakout stars.
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.
One of the most pleasant surprises in 2014's rap world was the discovery of Mississippi-bred sibling duo Rae Sremmurd. With the help of Atlanta super-producer Mike Will Made It, 21-year-old Swae Lee and 23-year-old Slim Jimmy crafted some of last year's most unhinged party jams (No Flex Zone, No Type). On SremmLife, the two are as enticingly unrestrained as their hit singles.
Cannibal Ox:Blade Of The Ronin Cannibal Ox are one of those Salinger-grade acts who followed up an instant classic full-length with a silence long enough to seem like a breakup and rustling with just enough rumors to keep hope flickering. During that late-‘90s to early-‘00s moment when “underground rap” had enough of a shadowy presence in on both sides of the now-defunct indie-mainstream aisle to seem like a cohesive genre, the NYC duo’s sole LP, 2001’s The Cold Vein, defined an era, a sound, and an ethos. But, largely on the strength of that record, the times have caught up to Can Ox: formerly their work was most fully realized of many attempted updates on Public Enemy’s apocalyptic sonic M.
Rae Sremmurd Sremmlife (Interscope) Closest comparison might be the Backstreet Boys. The two teen brothers from Mississippi who make up Rae Sremmurd couldn't be more cuddly. Bandanas, Kanye denim, standing five-feet-five-inches and maybe 100 pounds soaking wet; you'll crush on them if you grew up on narcotized Southern rap. They broke out last year on the back of the sparse, swaggy "No Type," and mantra-creating "No Flex Zone," both of which anchor Interscope debut Sremmlife.