Party records have been a necessity in hip hop for years now. They’ve always added a much needed balance to the genre. Growing up with MC Hammer being at the forefront was my first real example of this. Even though on album cuts he got more in depth, Hammer exemplified good times for me as a kid. The guy had his own doll, apparel, and a Saturday morning cartoon. If I was looking for a group I could identify with energy wise, it was Kris Kross. They were young, flashy, and had a style all their own to claim. Not to mention, they were closer to my age group. More than twenty years later, and we’re seeing that energy again in the form of Rae Sremmurd: hip hop’s latest energetic duo. Their debut album Sremmlife serves as a soundtrack of sorts for today’s younger generation. It’s fun, fast paced, and is seemingly hand crafted for today’s listen and go audience. Whether you like it or not, it’s more effective than you think.
First you have to ask yourself if you’re happy with the direction party music is headed in. If you can accept that reality, then look no further. Rae Sremmurd is an Atlanta duo composed of Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy. The name Rae Sremmurd actually spells Ear Drummers backwards, (yes it’s still a headache to say out loud), and it’s the name of their label home founded by Mike WiLL Made-It. This duo’s soul purpose is feel good music, as evident with their debut single “No Flex Zone.” The song was a hit this past summer, but we still didn’t know what to make of them until their second and more boastful single “No Type” was released. Often cartoonish in their approach, they never stop being the life of the party. Album opener “Lit Like Bic” will help ease you in, while “Unlock the Swag” is repetitive enough to be stuck with you well after it goes off.
There’s a song here for almost every current high you can feel. A song like “My X” for example, is celebratory of their new success, all the while rubbing it in their ex fling’s face. Think Big Sean’s “IDFWU,” but less harsh and more bounce. As young and new as they are as a duo, they seem to have found their niche and already have an inescapable way with their melodies. The album is light on features with an appearance from Big Sean on “YNO,” and Nicki Minaj is on chorus duty for the infectious “Throw Some Mo.” Young Thug also drops in for a verse that I guarantee you can’t repeat word for word but in true Thugga form, somehow it works here.
This is by no means a flawless album but with an 11 track offering, it’s meant to be a light listen. As animated as they are, you’d be surprised to find that these guys can actually rap. The good thing, is they are already well aware of their sound and don’t stray from it. Mike WiLL Made-It is good at honing in on new talent and highlighting their capabilities with his production. Rae Sremmurd isn’t trying to give us their life story, and that’s what works here the most. Like Kriss Kross before them, they’re just trying to show us a delightful time on their terms, while remaining consistent with their energy and feel good sound. How can anyone be mad at that?