chillin in the no flex zone with rae sremmurd
Rae Sremmurd are perhaps the biggest thing to arrive out of Tupelo, Mississippi since Elvis Presley was born there. Comprised of brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi, the duo dominated 2014 with the thunderously melodic, No Flex Zone, a track that had the internet exploding and rap heavyweights like Nicki Minaj readily remixing.
The 2015 release of their debut album, SremmLife, proved to be equally intoxicating, prompting even Kendrick Lamar to tweet lines from the project. "SremmLife is when you wake up in the morning and you smoke pot and you don't worry about nothing," Jxmmi says of their inspiration. "When you swipe that card, and you get everything and you don't worry about nothing else. It's no worries. It's like Hakuna Matata."
SremmLife took six months to create, armed with the aforementioned first single, along with the follow-up, No Type, and the Nicki Minaj/Young Thug-assisted,Throw Sum Mo. Rae Stemmurd's mantra is quite simple and straight out of their mouths: "Live life to the fullest, and in the driver's seat," and that's what they aim to do. It's a labor of love to pump party jams into the rap atmosphere, considering the draconian times we're currently experiencing globally, but Rae Sremmurd keep it lighthearted. "Everybody bustin' their choppers, everybody wanna be gangster," says Swae Lee matter-of-factly. "We really just wanna be ourselves and have fun with it; be positive role models for everybody."
Prior to cranking out the tunes, Rae Sremmurd were known for throwing epic parties back in school, but the desire to make music themselves came calling. "Music is an escape for us, you know what I'm sayin?" Swae Lee explains. "We like to entertain, party, and have fun." It's really just as simple as that.
The duo got their start as the group Dem Outta St8 Boyz, and their YouTube videos and organic marketing caught the attention of Mike WiLL Made-It affiliate P-Nasty, who hooked the brothers up with a meeting with the budding superproducer. Mike WiLL ultimately signed them to his Ear Drummers Entertainment imprint, and Rae Sremmurd was born - reversing the label's "Ear Drummers" name to make their own moniker.
Growing up, the two experienced everything from homelessness in their teens to a handful of mildly traumatic breakups, some of which are expressed on their debut album (primarily the latter). "My ex-girlfriend broke my heart," says Jxmmi, adding his reluctance to fall in love now, evidenced by album tracks like My X. Meanwhile his brother is looking to experience the whole spectrum of flavours of women.
"I love everybody," Swae Lee says gleefully. "Black, White, Mexican, Latina, Indian. Everybody. When I'm kissing on these girls and I'm loving on these girls, I'm just thinking about SremmLife." Top-notch co-signs, hit singles, and a genuine air of the best kind of carelessness: that's what Rae Sremmurd is all about. While they continue to promote that SremmLife, the two are adding a much-needed dose of fun to the hip-hop landscape. It's perfectly fine to ask, "why so serious?" sometimes, right?
Text Kathy Iandoli
Photography Zach Wolfe