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SremmLife 2 Interscope/Ear Drummer
by Christopher R. Weingarten | August 25th, 2016 10:06:AM EST
Exuberant Mississippi brothers Rae Sremmurd exploded in 2014 with three consecutive U.S. Top 40 singles and a debut LP that combined stomping Southern rap and pop concision into a sound as reliably tight as an old AC/DC record. For the follow-up (guided once again by the massive beats of producer and mentor Mike Will Made It), they return a little bit grown-up and a lot more hyped up.
Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi's indelible appeal remains their elastic voices, which squeak, squawk, shout or (as in the case of "Swang") break into a gauzy falsetto. The sound here is less melodic than on their debut; it's an in-the-red reboot of mid-'00s Southern crunk music, with cameos from vintage champagne sprayers like Lil Jon and Three 6 Mafia's Juicy J. Mike Will's beats are often designed to detonate the club – from the buzz-sawing industrial blare of "Start a Party" to "Set the Roof", a giddy collaboration with DJ Mustard that remakes the California producer's trademark bounce as an Atlanta shoutfest. "I'm a fuckin' black Beatle, cream seats in the Regal/Rockin' John Lennon lenses, like to see 'em spread-eagle," Swae Lee notes on "Black Beatles", which matches moody synths with punishing bass. Like the Beatles, they've moved past bubblegum into heavier experiments.
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