Fresh off the stage at Melbourne’s Listen Out festival, energetic brothers Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee, aka Rae Sremmurd, took the time to talk us through the latest in their crazy world. After a wildly successful 2014, the boys are still here and aren’t showing any signs of letting up. Hailing from Tupelo, a small town in Mississippi, we discuss the role southern hospitality plays in their careers, why they feel like aliens most of the time, and how to stay positive in an industry of fakes.
Hey boys! So this is your first time in Australia. How’s it going so far? Are you guys worn out from all this travel?
Slim Jimmy: We got in yesterday, this is only day two. Australia is so fucking lit, I’m having the best time.
Swae Lee: Day two and it feels like we’ve been here five days! It’s crazy. We got young bodies though, turn up. I love it here. It’s just like America, starts with an ‘A’, ends with an ‘A’.
How are the girls treating you?
SL: They love us and we love them. Girls out here are so beautiful.
What’s the craziest thing a fan or groupie has ever done?
SL: One time I was London and this girl saw me hop into the Sprinter. The traffic was mad congested and slow, like you could keep up if you were running. So this girl starts jogging with my car for literally like two miles. Just jogging. Every time the car would stop at a red light, you’d see the girl catch up and just be waving and looking at me right in the face. I was just like, ‘Baby I love you, I wanna stop but I can’t’, haha. I felt bad. Like, you don’t need to run after this car. It was super cool though. Mad love.
It must be nice! But I guess with that attention comes a lot of suspicion and care with the people you keep around you?
SJ: I don’t let nobody too close.
SL: Because there’s lames out there who wanna be on.
SJ: There’s always dudes out there who will bite your swag and steal your whole identity.
SL: You definitely gotta watch your back.
From what I’ve seen online and in past interviews, it seems like you manage to stay really positive and grounded through it all. That in itself is a really rare thing, not only in the entertainment industry, but in rap specifically. Where does that come from? How do you remain humble and happy?
SJ: 662 stay winning! It’s Mississippi. It’s where we’re from, it’s our home. We stay humble. Mississippi is a hospitable and welcoming place.
SL: Just gotta keep a lot of real people around you. Filter out the fake, you know what I’m saying? They gonna keep you grounded, keep you on earth. But through that, still know where you wanna be. Still hustle hard.
SJ: We smoke a lot of weed too, haha. Weed makes you feel good, right? Let’s just be real.
SL: Positive is just who I am. We came from so much bad shit. Fuck that negative shit! Let’s get happy.
SJ: Nothing can make me mad dude. The only way I could be mad is if… Nah, I can’t be mad. I’m straight.
SL: Shit could be a lot worse! And it isn’t. We’re good over here.
What do you miss about home when you’re away touring?
SL: We live in three states right now. Cali, Florida, and Mississippi. I have a condo in Florida, and I also stay in Cali a lot of the time. When I’m away from Tupelo [Mississippi], I miss all my friends from high school. I miss that Southern food. Mac and cheese, yams, grits are good too. I love grits. Cream of wheat, chicken. Oh my god.
SL: Waffle House is the shit! Waffle House is on every single corner.
How do you think being from Mississippi influences who you are? Your music, your lifestyle?
SJ: I live in Mississippi. I just bought a house there. That’s my home, I run my city. Mississippi is so nice. Not a lot of people have been there so they don’t know much about it, but it’s beautiful.
SL: Our lingo. We Southern so it’s all in our way of talking. Our whole demeanour. The way we dress. When I meet people from other areas, I feel like an alien. Everywhere I go I feel like a fucking alien.
SJ: It’s tight meeting other people. I like to see the different types of culture because in Mississippi we do things a certain way. When I visit other places I get to see a new wave of stuff. I’m wearing a Gucci jacket right now. I never even saw a Gucci jacket until I moved to the city. Shit. Ain’t no Gucci store in Tupelo.
SL: Everybody knows everybody there, you know what I’m saying? It’s that small. I love it though.
So you have a house in Cali? What do you like about the West?
SL: That’s the party house. It’s actually Mac Miller’s old crib. We got three studios in there, and a pool. It’s lit. I like the west coast. They’re closer to legalising weed than Mississippi. It’s just a different vibe. It’s quicker. More open-minded. I like the beaches and definitely the girls. They love to come and chill, smoke. Kush and swim, haha. My pool is good.
You guys work a lot. You’re constantly putting out music or featuring on something. Who do you look up to within music? Is there anyone?
SJ: When I was growing up, and you gotta quote this right. This is me. Slim Jimmy. I looked up to Juicy J. He’s turnt up. I love to be turnt up. Drunk, fucked up, partying. I’m lit, you know what I’m saying? That’s Slim Jimmy. Juicy J. Jimmy Swae. I always get all the bad bitches. I’m a wild boy, I do this shit.
SL: I really don’t look up to people like that, you know? I pay homage to a lot of artists, but I’m not trying to be like anyone. At the moment, I like Drake and Future. All the legends that got their own wave. I don’t look up to them like that, but I respect what they’re doing. They’re on the right path.
What are you listening to at the moment?
SL: I bump all the regular stuff I guess. Just shit on the radio. Travis [Scott], that’s my homie. We fuck up a lot of shit. Rodeo is banging. Plus I’m on that. Shout out Nightcrawler. Nicki [Minaj] is tight too. She’s the homie. She’s beautiful and she’s nice. She shows hella love, we’re like her little brothers. We’ll turn some shit up.
Do you ever get starstruck?
SL: I was starstruck when I met the dude from The Beatles! Paul McCartney. I met him backstage on some random shit. He was showing us mad love. I didn’t really have nothing to say, I was nervous. I just shook his hand and took a picture.
Lastly, I’m gonna let you flex for a second. What’s your favourite thing about being a rapper?
SL: VIP in the club even though I’m underage. Haha. Life is lit!
SJ: Yo, you wanna know my favourite thing about being a rapper? Right now, we got some bad things waiting for us outside. We gotta go. Haha. Sremm Life!
Words by Dove Schwencke
Photography by Anna Warr