Rae Sremmurd Keep the Party Alive With ‘SremmLife 2′
The success of Rae Sremmurd’s 2015 debut album, SremmLife, proves that hip-hop is becoming a little less harsh on “party rappers” these days. Considering hip-hop was built and bred in the clubs and not just in the minds of uber-lyrical street poets, the brothers from Tupelo, Miss. are staying true to the culture's roots. Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi, who are pretty much the definition of party rappers, deliver a short and sweet shot of hip-hop hooray on their last offering but oddly enough find themselves in a little bit of a different place on SremmLife 2. There is no denying that the party is still bumping on this second installment but the mood has altered, or at the very least, matured.
SremmLife 2 follows a similar trajectory to its predecessor in terms of run time. Both the first installment and the new album feature 11 tracks, which is the perfect length for music of such high energy -- any longer and Rae Sremmurd would start to become more of a headache than a provider of head bangers. Another similarity both albums share is the obvious Mike Will Made-It influence -- his drop makes it onto pretty much every song between both projects -- and the fact that producer A+ gets a few more production credits as well. However, the biggest difference on SremmLife 2 is that the turn up is turned down a few notches.
The rapping is slower and the overtly kinetic, spastic beats have been substituted for slow-rolling trap burners. Aside from the album’s opener “Start a Party” -- which is the sonic equivalent to a Boeing 747 blasting off the runway and into orbit -- the next 10 songs are relatively slow. “Real Chill” with Kodak Black is just as the title precedes it and the previously released first single, “By Chance,” unfortunately doesn’t sound much more hype six months after it arrived.
“Shake It Fast” and “Set the Roof” are both exceptions to this gentler propensity but don't have the same staying power as anything on the first SremmLife. The latter could have been the album’s most prosperous track but instead it features Lil Jon, who was somehow resurrected from hip-hop’s crunk graveyard and manages to annoyingly ruin the track with a chorus that sounds like it came straight out of the early 2000s. Luckily, Gucci Mane does much better with his featured verse on the rock-inspired “Black Beatles.”
“Look Alive” will most likely be the most streamed track out of the dozen for two reasons. First off, Mike Will’s production is infectious to the core. Even though he’s made hundreds of beats that sound almost identical, there is just something about the way he arranges heavy 808s with such light melodic keys that puts a smile on your face. Secondly, the duo comes up with some incredibly clever lines that will immediately surface in Instagram captions. “Kill this cup, not my vibe” and “I can get you so right, I just need an invite” carry such a simplistic beauty that just about anyone can and should feel comfortable singing along.
There is a little bit of a party break on “Came a Long Way,” on which the brothers do a little reflecting. Slim raps “Came a long way from the sip” while Swae spits, “'Cause I stay up on the road/If I ever write a book about the shit I been through/It'd be the greatest story ever told.” The two compare old Mississippi days to their new and improved lives, which don’t seem all that different. Regardless, it’s interesting to see the turn up twins take a step back for a second and do some introspection; even if it is still about girls, money and drugs.
SremmLife 2 is by no means a sophomore slump but just doesn’t quite fill the same space as the first installment did last year. Fans and critics were obviously expecting another full set of smash hits but instead are served a more relaxed project with a slower burn. The project still calls for a turn up but this time around it will take little more time to catch on.
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