Monday 19 January 2015

Review of 'SremmLife' by Rae Sremmurd

Help me. I’m trying to understand the appeal of these two goofs and failing.

Unpronounceable Mississippi brotherly hip hop duo, Rae Srummurd, are currently making waves in the US hip hop scene, having already charted in the top 20 with ‘No Type’. Their style of party rap consists of amateurish flows, constipated squeaky-voiced inflections and buzzword-reliant lyrics that  make no sense and rarely rhyme. In essence, the duo have no talent. In fact, they sound just like children.

Now, I could understand the appeal of this if they were children – the cute factor inevitably causes likeability. However, aged nineteen and twenty-one years old, Rae Sremmurd are not children. My cuteness radar doesn’t extend to their ages. Not that I have much regard for cuteness anyway.

Horrible creatures

In a nutshell, Rae Sremmurd sound like kids but aren’t and this makes them appealing. Their complete lack of talent strangely seems to be what's drawing people in. It could be a punk thing, in which case I can begin to relate. There’s something definitely entertaining about a band like The Dead Milkmen, who often embraced their total lack of musicianship. The guitar solo in 'Punk Rock Girl' always serves as a great example of this, being deliberately and hilariously clunky and out of tune.

There is however a major difference between The Dead Milkmen and Rae Sremmurd, and that is that The Dead Milkmen are funny. Rae Sremmurd aren’t particularly serious but they don’t draw enough self-deprecating attention to their lack of talent for me to empathise with them. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rae Sremmurd thought they were hot shit.

Of course even disillusioned vanity would be more entertaining than the two-planks-of-wood-persona that Rae Sremmurd publicly display through their music. Usually party rappers have some kind of unique character to them that makes up for their dumb and ignorant music. Take Danny Brown for example or hell, even Nicki Minaj. They’ve got a certain obnoxiousness that makes them interesting. Rae Sremmurd don’t even have that.

Somebody give these dudes a personality!
I suppose one could argue that their music is catchy, but it’s a hammer-into-your-head-until-it-hurts catchiness that they rely on, the kind of catchiness that any tom, dick or harry could pull off. They use their deliberately annoying childlike inflections and continuous repetition of hooks like ‘Unlock the Swag’ and ‘No Flex Zone’ to get their songs stuck in your head the same way an irritating radio jingle does. It doesn’t take musical talent to do this. We can all shell-shock people into memorising things.

All in all, Sremmlife is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the music industry. Fans seem to use the nonsensical argument ‘but they’re just two guys having fun’. Yes, but so were the Kray twins. So were Bonnie and Clyde. Granted, Rae Sremmurd haven’t killed anyone – although they are slowly killing the music industry. They promote the idea that it doesn’t take an iota of talent to be a star and that anyone can be a successful rapper. If we allow this to be the case, all the people with genuine talent are going to end up disregarded and musicianship will just be a case of whoever has the best PR team.