Label: Ear Drummer Records/Interscope Records
Released: May 4
It’s a shame the current music industry climate will condition most to write SR3MM off as a business decision for the sole purpose of finessing streaming data. There might be some truth to that, but I also see it as a beautiful rejection of the idea that the Sremm brothers would eventually break up and go solo—a narrative they have been facing since the first album dropped and Swae Lee came off as the creative lead on most of its tracks. The betting cynic would've assumed ’18 would see the long-anticipated Swaecation arrive well before a third Sremm album or anything from Jxmmi.
Instead, they released a triple album with nine tracks as a duo and nine tracks each on their own, which is a brilliant solution that lets the boys and their fans have their cake and eat it, too. The collaborative SR3MM is my least favorite of the three, but it also contains some of the project’s most dynamic songs. “Powerglide” is Rae Sremmurd doing what they do best, while songs like “Perplexing Pegasus” see them continuing to rise to the challenge when Mike Will throws them the weirdest beat in his oeuvre. Swaecation mostly lives up to the hype with hazy Malibu-ready vibes (“Offshore” is a top song of the year) while still leaving room for Swae to refine his approach as he pivots into full heartthrob. The pleasant surprise, though, is Jxmtro. Jxmmi doubles down on the rambunctiousness of Rae Sremmurd with even harder-hitting Mike Will beats and an unexpectedly wide net that draws in everyone from Rapping Skateboard P to Zoë Kravitz. And “Brxnks Truck” is the most lit signal blare this side of Cactus Jack records. I can’t wait to see what the duo does now that they’ve proven what they can do together and apart, but never too far apart. —Frazier Tharpe