The youth movement in today’s hip hop has come under heavy scrutiny. Most of it is unfair though. “Old School vs New School” is a topic that will never go away in any genre of music. Depending when you grew up and the sound that was popular during your adolescence all the way through your adult hood – that’s your bar for gauging what is and what is not good music. Hip hop though has found itself in a weird place. For most of it’s beginnings it was labeled as a “fad” and something that would “die out,” but quite the opposite has occurred. Hip Hop is actually in some ways the new “pop” sound. For an art form that is heralded for it’s “craft” of lyricism, flow and feel – lately there has been a flux of lazy, uninventive patterns presented by those in the hip hop forum.
Rae Sremmrud is the hip hop duo made up of two brothers from Mississippi, Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee. They signed to producer Mike Will’s production company EarDrummers Entertainment. The name Rae Sremmrud is Ear Drummers spelled backwards, and that’s where this weird journey through Stremmlife begins.
The album opens with “Lit Like Bic” which delivers a smooth intro to the rough ride which lays ahead. There is a word called “articulation,” which the young duo needs to look up. Articulation is the act of vocal expression; utterance or enunciation – and more times than not – Rae Srummrud sound as if they have a mouthful of jawbreakers while speaking – or just like some young winos. When the listener gets through their rough delivery, they hear gems like : “News life sh*t, test this cup / test this cup, do it for us / Four eyed, damn, I’m twisted bad, I can feel it / Aquafina water, go ahead and peel it.”
It does not get much better with songs like “Unlock the Swag” which opens with it’s uneventful hook that repeats the title of the song 14 times. This track along with the rest of the album, shows a heavy influence of the flow that Atlanta rapper Future has made famous. Lyrics like “I blow, I lie, I chill, I swag / How much, cash do, I make, a day/ enough, to pray, enough for tax” make the feature by a mostly unknown Jace seem like a heaven send.
Rae Sremmund if anything is relatable to their young fan base with song concepts like “My X” and “This Could Be Us.” They play off the popular social media hashtag and meme of “This Could Be Us” in a playful manner, with piano stabs and a catchy melody in the chorus. “My X” pits the two artist in a familiar and relatable juvenile predicament of throwing your success in the face of an ex-girlfriend. Their obnoxious tone, actually works out well on that one. The album’s best production and chorus appear on the track “Come Get Her.” It has an R.Kelly-feel to the song and Swae Lee actually finishes the song on point: “Baby girl, what you think that we’re doin? / you gettin on my nerves with them questions, girl you know I’m tryna start a movement . . . out the blue, you actin’ brand new / Washington’s mean nothing to you / same way with us. . .”
Unfortunately the three songs worth listening to play consecutively leaving a lot of opportunities for the listener to get bored or frustrated while viewing the album.
The single “No Type” makes no sense what-so-ever because the first two lines in the hook contradict the concept of the song: “I ain’t got no type / Bad b*tches is the only thing I like.”
“Up Like Trump” and the album’s lead single “No Flex Zone” are more examples uneventful trash. Even MikeWill Made It’s production becomes stale and predictable. After the listener distinguishes the difference between Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy – it’s evident that Swae is more of the focal point. He has the louder of the personalities, and handles most of the hooks and bridges.
A lot of what is wrong in hip hop today is found in Rae Sremmurd’s debut album. It’s evident they’re all about girls and having fun – which at their age should be the topics – but that doesn’t mean it has to sound like total garbage. Listening to “Sremmlife” is the equivalent of driving cross country while being forced to chew on tin foil.
Rating 2 out of 10