Swae Lee, Slim Jxmmy, and their loaded solo careers come to an official beggining.
The duo of Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmy, aka Rae Sremmurd, broke onto the scene with their singles “No Flex Zone” and “Throw Sum Mo”, both of which quickly went viral thanks to assistance from Mike WiLL Made-It. Not long after, the team dropped SremmLife, and the duo from Tupelo, Mississippi was dominating the scene and sound of party rap.
With SremmLife 2, Rae Sremmurd landed their biggest song to date, “Black Beatles”, which had international success. Despite this, SremmLife 2 overall lacked the classic feeling SL1 had, and soon had people looking towards the obligatory solo projects from the Rae Sremmurd boys — now living through their mid twenties.
How is the third iteration of SremmLife?
27 tracks across three discs seems like a lot of music – and it especially is for one sitting – but the three discs truly all have an identity of their own. Among the 27 songs, there were eight singles, so lets go over those quickly (half of the nine SR3MM tracks were singles).
“Perplexing Pegasus” dropped a few months prior to the albums release, which gave it time to earn mainstream ad placement which would make the song and beat feel that much more big time. The song is a banger and Jxmmy’s verse and southern drawl on this song are awesome. “T’d Up” is an even more emphatic banger with similarly nice production. Swae, Jxmmy, and Juicy J all go in on “Powerglide” which has one of the best hooks on all three CDs. Travis Scott does his thing on “CLOSE”, where Swae and Jxmmy’s participation is noticeably weaker.
SR3MM begins with “Up In My Cocina”, showcasing intriguing vocals and flow from Swae Lee, albeit underwhelming production to kick off the album. As one dud song per Rae Sremmurd project is expected by now, it comes right on cue to close out the first disc with “Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame”, a big meh even with the HBK line. The features on SR3MM were a success, however. “Bedtime Stories” is a solid mood song where The Weeknd brings his staple vocals. “Buckets” is a super fun track where Swae throws down one of his best verses. But, one of the best moments on the first disc comes with no features attached on the song “42”, which is really just comprised of a nice hook and some solid verses, but the execution is solid.
But how do the solo project stack up?
Both SWAECATION and JXMTRO had two singles respectively. “Hurt To Look” previews what a near majority of what disc 2 would be; bad synth r&b/rap synth pop. “Guatamala” is a good dancehall song, sort of ruined by Jxmmy’s part which best highlights the style clash the borthers face when collaborating. “Brnxks Truck” bangs and properly previews what Jxmmy would bring on his project, while “Chanel” is decent, but is a rare – if not unprecedented – occasion where input from Pharrell feels a little overdone.
SWAECATION starts with “Touchscreen Navigation”, and we’re right back to this disco/synth pop beat that just never works for me. Drake tried it with Views, and The Weeknd tried it with Starboy, both resulting in arguably their worst albums. “Lost Angels” maintains this aesthetic but even worse — is a total snoozefest. By the time I had to hear this production for a fourth time on “What’s In Your Heart?”, I about went mad. Even when the vocals are acceptable, they’re totally offset by the awful beat selection. I get the “Swaecation” aesthetic Swae Lee is going for, but it just was not executed well. The nice songs on the disc are “Heartbreak In Encino Hills” and “Offshore”, which are two really adventurous songs. Also, the wind pipes on “Heat Of The Moment” deserve an honorable mention.
Now on to JXMTRO. The first new song “Players Club” has a killer beat with deadly keys, but on it Jimmy robs Xxxtentacion’s “ayye” ad lib. “Anti-Social Smokers Club” is super hard, all around from Jxmmy’s verse to Zoe Kravitz’ feature. “Cap” has a nice verse from Trouble and “Changed Up” is smooth and features excellent production and a great hook. Again we’re treated to really nice production on “Keep God First”, production so nice that it became the subject of my active listening rather than the actual vocals. “Juggling Biddies” again has immersive production and Jxmmy’s flow is nice as well.
Unlike SWAECATION, JXMTRO‘s tracklisting is less “these are the good songs, these are the bad songs” and more, “these songs are all pretty good.” And that about sums up the difference in consistency among the two solo projects.
Rae Sremmurd; better together or individually?
The story of SR3MM reveals the visions of the duo as individuals and how they produce and conceptualize songs. Where Swae Lee was confident enough in his talents to try an experimental soundscape, Slim Jxmmy continued his steady progression while making use of safe but highly effective production and song concepts.
Together, The duo offer a more refined look at what they have to offer. With only 9 tracks among each project. The decision to push and promo all these projects together was a good one, and when you look up this project on streaming services, you’re forced to look at the whole 27 song collection — again, an idea that will pay off well in the long run.
Where does SR3MM rank among the SremmLife trilogy? Probably 2nd or 3rd. While in a competitive nature, I think Slim Jxmmy won this battle. Still, the Rae Sremmurd brand remains to be the overall grand winner.