REVIEW: Looking back at Rae Sremmurd’s latest album

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4/19 Rae Sremmurd SremmLife2

Michael Nied

Hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd is gearing up for a return to campus at this year’s FlashFest with some fresh material since their last performance in 2015.

In 2016, the duo, comprised of brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi, released their sophomore album “SremmLife 2,” and displayed some sonic growth from their debut.

The Gucci Mane and Mike WiLL Made It-assisted “Black Beatles” is a clear standout on the album.

On the track, the group compares their popularity to that of the Beatles at their peak over a mid-tempo trap production. Celebrating a life of excesses, the brothers and Gucci Mane each deliver solo verses joined by a smooth, earworm-worthy chorus.

Tight productions from the likes of label mate Mike WiLL Made It and guest verses from Gucci Mane (“Black Beatles”), Juicy J (“Shake It Fast”) and Lil Jon (“Set the Roof”) provide the album with a dose of star power that propels Rae Sremmurd’s name to a larger audience and proves that the pair is capable of sharing space with some of the industry’s heaviest hitters.

The pair spends much of the album reflecting on their current state of affairs, comparing their luxurious lifestyle to more humble beginnings in Mississippi.

Rae Sremmurd is at their best on “SremmLife 2” with mid-tempos including the introspective “Came a Long Way,” the raunchy but relaxed ode to “Do Yoga” or “Black Beatles,” but they verge on annoying on their braggadocio-infused party tracks, like album opener “Start a Party” or their Bobo Swae collab “Over Here.”

No amount of twerkable beats can save these tracks from the pair’s grating screamed vocals and some of the more childish lyrics on the album.

“This is how you start a party,” the pair proclaims on the opener. Despite their best efforts, the track fails to lift off.

The Best

“Black Beatles” — A testimony to their status, the pair seems at ease on track, and their verses are filled with energy and clever twists.

“Came a Long Way” — Reflecting on their humble beginnings, the brothers offer some insight into their current state of affairs and determine that they have come a long way.

The Worst

“Start a Party” — An admittedly tight production is beaten down by contrived lyrics and the most grating vocals on the album. Note to Rae: This is not how you start a party.

“Over Here” — A collaboration with up-and-coming Bobo Swae hurts both Rae Sremmurd and Swae. There’s really nothing too redeemable about this obnoxious release.

Michael Nied is the entertainment reviewer, contact him at [email protected]