Brothers Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee, better known collectively as Rae Sremmurd, are an irrepressible musical force. Their anthemic singles are gleefully energetic, exploding with feel-good hooks and choruses that are perfect for shouting in the sweaty depths of the club. Though that’s not to say that the upbeat duo haven’t been through their share of hard times. Rae Sremmurd came under the tutelage of P-Nasty, a producer on Mike Will Made It’s Ear Drummer Records label, during a period of homelessness in their hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi. Now, with their debut album peaking at number one on the US Rap charts – it seems as if everything is falling into place for the brothers from the South.
How was South by Southwest?
Swae Lee: South by Southwest was wild, we did so many shows.
You guys did ‘No Flex Zone’ at the same festival last year for Complex, how was it coming back a year later after all your success?
SL: It was different. Man everybody is into that song. Every time we drop ‘No Flex Zone’ it’s like a movie. Everyone has their phones up in the air, it gets crazy. Every time.
SL: Yeah, we fucking love Miley. We fell in love with Miley, truly. We love her work.
Speaking of ‘Throw Sum Mo’, you got Young Thug on the track. What was it like working with him?
SL: He came right into studio, he heard the song and went into the booth. In five minutes he came back out and had that verse.
Really, that was it?
SL: Five minutes. I’m not lying to you.
You seem to have a similar experimental approach to music to Young Thug, do you want to keep pushing the Rae Sremmurd sound?
SL: Yeah man, it’s all SremmLife. It’s all the SremmLife world.
Mike Will Made It connected with you when you were homeless, in an interview we did with him he said he tries to be a mentor for you guys. Do you feel the same way? Is he someone you admire?
SL: Definitely, I have always looked up to Mike Will and I always will. Back in the day we looked up to him in a big way, we looked up to all of Ear Drummer [Records].
How did Mike get in touch with you?
SL: One of his producers, P-Nasty, is from Tupelo, Mississippi. So that’s how that happened.
What’s it like working with Mike in the studio? He’s got an unbelievable ear for hits.
SL: He does, he’s got all the hits. Ear Drummer Records got all the hits. SremmLife got all the hits. When we’re in the studio all at the same time, the hits are just going to keep coming out. We’ve got hits coming out for the next decade. Guaranteed.
Is Ear Drummer more than a label? It seems like a family.
SL: Yeah, it’s family. We’re like a village. You’re going to see it get bigger, you’re going to see us take over. Ear Drummer Records is going to get crazy.
How do you live the SremmLife lifestyle? What do you have to do?
SL: Sremmlife is when you get up, you smoke a good blunt, listen to the SremmLife album, and you head out and enjoy your day. If you break a rule, any rule, you yell “SremmLife.” That’s all you got to do.
Is it a philosophy?
SL: SremmLife is a way of life. It’s the only way that we live; it’s the only life that we can live. Why not be one hundred all the time?
I heard you used have some pretty crazy parties when you were younger, right?
SL: Ah man, we had crazy parties.
Any advice for throwing a good house party?
SL: As long as you have good vodka, and some good marijuana, and some good turnt up people – then you’ve got a good SremmLife party.
Slim Jimmy: Also, a ten to one ratio of girls to guys.
How do I unlock the swag?
SL: The secret to unlocking the swag? Slim Jimmy got to tell you that.
SJ: The secret to unlocking the swag is free it. F-R-E-E I-T.