Last year, buoyed by effervescent hits like the anti-stunt anthem “No Flex Zone” and the jarring synth pound “No Type”—a song revered by composers and bloggers alike—Rae Sremmurd became a household name despite the fact that people have had a hard time figuring out how to say “Rae Sremmurd”. SremmLife, their debut LP, floats with a singular energy, a culmination of the group’s 2014 coming-of-age.
While trying to build an album of stuff that’s approximately as good as “No Flex Zone” or “No Type” is a tall task, SremmLife hurdles the hype machine with infectious rap music. It never sags, packing hooks into every pocket and half-beat. Swae Lee giddily slides over syllables (“trill-ass ind-div-vid-du-al” on “No Flex Zone”) while Slim Jimmy’s gruffer delivery sets up an interesting vocal dynamic where sometimes it’s difficult to discern who’s rapping, but at other times it’s clear as day. A six-second snippet of each song would be enough for its own free-standing Vine, but often the full product—energetic pounds like “Up Like Trump” and “YNO”—earns its longer form.
Though a few songs stretch out an interesting idea too far—for instance, the post-Nae-Nae scrum “My X”—SremmLife is a showcase of an electric new talent paired with all the trappings of a bigtime major label debut. Guests like Big Sean, Young Thug, and Nicki Minaj (who sings the earworm hook on strip-club anthem “Throw Sum Mo”) meet the energy of the Brown brothers, who are paired with exceptional production from Mike WiLL, Sonny Digital, and others. The music here is at once huge but also inward looking—burly soundscapes like “No Type” and the closer “Safe Sex Pay Checks” create an atmosphere that suggest something shadowy lurking outside the frame. Given that SremmLife is a flagship of Mike WiLL’s new Ear Drummer imprint, it may not be surprising that SremmLife is a logical companion to his other recent pop-minded success—Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, the album equivalent of being caught up in the thrill of an epic party but knowing that it’ll soon come crashing down. It’s life-affirming music in ways that make you feel both better and worse.
SremmLife fulfills the promise of “No Flex Zone” and “No Type”, though a prominent piece of the record hints at something more. “This Could Be Us”, SremmLife’s fifth song, stands apart from the whole. A lovely track about a failed relationship, the brothers Brown—Jimmy rapping, Swae singing—deliver a promise that’s easy to project a successful career upon. Above all else Rae Sremmurd pull you in with their synergy and symmetry: SremmLife is a less of an album and more of a way of life.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/15aNdS2