Rae Sremmurd became the preeminent hip-hop party duo last year on the strength of SremmLife, a collection of turn-up anthems with crossover appeal stemming from melodic hooks and radio-ready beat selection. Even after the countless release pushbacks, the brothers are ready to live their best lives again with SremmLife 2, a rarely relenting party with more substance than the last.
From the opening revving of "Start a Party" onwards, the duo's infectious exuberance is still present despite largely doing away with the simpler shout-along hooks of their debut. Both the Kodak Black-assisted "Real Chill" and Gucci Mane team-up "Black Beatles" show a wordier side to younger brother Swae Lee's hook-writing hand, yet remain memorable. And if it isn't his words, it's his delivery — particularly the melodic monotony of "Look Alive" or the hush-hush hook of "By Chance" — that provides both successful and welcome experimentation.
But even when the party's over, the latter half of SremmLife 2 is built for the comedown. "Came a Long Way" finds the brothers self-examining, from their grind to their lavish lifestyle, while "Now That I Know" and "Take It or Leave It" both talk longing for past loves in R&B fashion. Even closer "Do Yoga" finds an important place within living the SremmLife, because even those who party in excess need some time to cool down. (Eardrummers/Interscope)