Mississippi duo Rae Sremmurd set the game alight with their 2015 debut release 'Sremmlife', which featured a selection of uptempo beats perfect for a party and basic lyricism that concentrated more on hyping up the listener, rather than focussing on conveying any real messages or exhibiting skill on the microphone. 2016 brings their follow up effort, imaginatively titled 'Sremmlife 2', and it's a whole load more of the same.
The LP opens with 'Start A Party', which is basic in its content, yet the undeniably energetic track is an obvious choice to kick things off with. Florida rapper Kodak Black appears on 'Real Chill', and the looming cut, complete with menacing bass and gritty vocals from the three MC's, is an early standout. The problem with 'Sremmlife 2' becomes apparent all too quickly; the lack of diverse sonics and styles starts to irritate before we've even made it to the half-way point; even a Gucci Mane feature on 'Black Beatles' fails to inject any kind of real originality or memorability into the album.
Lil Jon makes an appearance on 'Set The Roof', and the bouncy, bass-driven banger is an example of Rae Sremmurd doing what they do best; both Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi demonstrate catchy bars and charismatic deliveries, and crunk pioneer Lil Jon's animated contribution is a welcome addition.
The production is on point throughout the LP; the subtle, stripped-back 'Now That I Know' is expertly executed by Mike Will Made It, Scooly and Sparxxx, with a spacious drum pattern and airy synthesizers making the slow-moving track infectious and engaging.
A severe problem with the project is that there are too many times when listening through to the LP that Sremmurd's lyrics go in one ear and out the other; the beats and the flows on here are definitely the most captivating elements on 'Sremmlife 2', but in an era dominated by sub-par lyricism and a focus on production, it would be refreshing to hear some actual content from today's lyricists, instead of a four-minute track where the most prominent bar is "all my girls do yoga" (found, obviously, on 'Do Yoga'.
If it's a Saturday night and you've got the drinks man, you could choose a worse soundtrack to your evening than 'Sremmlife 2'; it's energetic, charismatic and entirely upbeat, with polished production and Rae Sremmurd have a sound that stands out amongst their contemporaries. It's the lack of any profound content or real focus that holds them back from being taken seriously though; when artists like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Mick Jenkins (I could keep listing MC's for ever) are pushing intellectual subjects in the modern rap game, Rae Sremmurd's material really does pale in comparison. There's a time and a place for these guys though.
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