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.
Now, the Mike WiLL Made and mentored duo present SremmLife, an album built on house party sensibilities, radio-ready beats and hooks, and enough cornball meme raps to almost match the consistent reassurance that they outshine their haters. From the opening track "Lit Like Bic," Rae Sremmurd float with jovial exuberance over sparkling clean big-time production, which is handled mostly by Mike WiLL. Two-9 rapper Jace delivers a pleasantly dense feature on "Unlock The Swag," a song destined for festival hype, and Big Sean's bounce through the auto-tune muck of "Yno" hints it may be the next Sremmurd single. Drill ambassador Young Chop handles the production on the pulverizing "My X," and the Sonny Digital-produced "Up Like Trump" is filled with memorable comparisons to The Donald and Slim Jimmy proclaiming to be "king of the swipe."
At just over 45 minutes, SremmLife sounds like how cheap vodka works — it burns a little, yeah, but it gets you there. This is Snapchat-raised turn-up music, trendy and self-actualizing through its references to memes that come quick as they go. And while sweaty, wristy mosh-raps sound much better in the summertime, Rae Sremmurd only further reinforces the vice grip hip-hop from south of the Mason-Dixon has on the mainstream. (EarDrummers Entertainment, Interscope)