Rae Sremmurd "Band of Brothers"
Photography by Steven Taylor
Words By Linda Hosmer
When brothers Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee walk into a photoshoot, the energy shifts. The hip-hop duo known as Rae Sremmurd to their faithful fans deliver a chill focus that lets those in the room know they were born for this. Blunts dangling from their lips and an ease of attitude kills whatever tension might have filled the room people they arrived.
These two feed off of each other in a way that goes way beyond their genetic bond. These two share a creative connection that’s undeniable. Then you get a glimpse of something else Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee bring, that “IT” factor, as our stylists begin to drape them in designer clothes. Now the camera is at attention, feeding off of the photogenic features of these fierce creators who move seamlessly in sync. The camera sees them and eats up every second of their shine.
But let’s not forget why we know Rae Sremmurd in the first place: their long list of hits that read more like a biblical commandment list with “No Flex Zone,” “No Type,” “Throw Some Mo” featuring Nicki Minaj and Young Thug and “Black Beatles” featuring Gucci Mane and on and on. Look them up – they’re club playlist gold.
We got a chance to chat it up with Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee for a few minutes, so sit back and learn a little more about this duo – from their fave snacks to what they want to be remembered for to their childhood.
You both moved around a lot as kids. How did it shape you?
Slim Jxmmi: My mom was in the army so we were kinda like army brats. We moved a lot of places. We never got stuck in one type of town, in one type of mindset and we traveled so much when we were little. I can pack up in 5 minutes and just go. I don’t get too attached to things or places.
Your mom has been the rock. Talk about her.
Slim Jxmmi: I’m real thankful for my mama. She went hard. That shaped me, it made me want to go hard. It made me want more, she made me want more.
Was there a specific moment when you knew you were both going to be performers?
Slim Jxmmi: My whole childhood I had said this was what I was going to do when I grew up. I was always after it. And me and my brother, we used to do these freestyle competitions. We used to be them kids that used to be in the lunch line and kids would circle around us and we’d be rapping and some other kids would be rapping. We were known in that city for that. It was something we were chasing for a long time. We were doing what we loved and what we felt was our calling and what we were good at.
Was there ever a moment when you lost hope? What got you back on track?
Slim Jxmmi: Oh there were plenty of times in life where I felt like that but I think that’s part of the journey! Because everybody goes through times when they think it’s not going to happen. Like you’re beating on a brick wall and there’s nobody on the other side. But we’re dreamers, man! We dedicated ourselves to this. We just did it!
What do you want fans to feel like when they’re around you?
Slim Jxmmi: I’m just going to be chillin’! I want people to be like, “Man, That’s Jxmmi, he’s was just chillin.’”
Looking back at far you’ve come, what’s that reflection look like?
Swae Lee: That’s the total glow up. Had to adapt to a different life and still remain the same person. I mean, everything totally changed. Everything maximized. Everything got bigger. Everything got better! Everything upgraded and a lot more doors opened!
When did you realize music and performing were the thing you were going to be successful at?
Swae Lee: We knew at a young age what we were going to do. We just did what we loved to do. We knew someday we were going to be doing something with music. We thought it was just going to be performing or something but I never knew it was as complex as it is in reality. But we always knew we’d do music.
What does your routine look like? Your day-to-day?
Swae Lee: Non-stop. For real. I’ll be at the studio. When I don’t have a show or travel or a photoshoot or something like that, I just go to the studio. You just gotta find a balance because days are non-stop.
Is there a hobby outside of music?
Swae Lee: I like to play with my monkeys. I love animals and nature. Got the animals at the crib. Maybe I’ll start a sanctuary some day.
Slim Jxmmi: I’m a professional taste tester. I just like trying different stuff. Right now, I’m riding motorcycles for fun and doing stuff like that. I’m just doing wild stuff! And sometimes I like working out all the time and sometimes I like jumping off of cliffs. All types of stuff! When I’m outside the studio anything goes!
Swae Lee: Fruit. Mangoes, berries, oranges, pineapples.
Slim Jxmmi: Cheese and crackers. It’s gotta be a block cheese, the block orangey kind and you chop it up and put it on the crackers.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Swae Lee: In 10 years?!? In 10 years I can’t even see myself, that’s how big this shit gotta be!
What do you want to be remembered for in the long run?
Swae Lee: I want them to think I’m putting out iconic music. That my vibes, the ones I put out into the world, are game-changing. That I’m ahead of my time!
Make sure to keep up with Rae Sremmurd via their website and if you ever have a chance to go to a show and experience this duo of brothers live, just do it! Seriously, the energy will keep you going way past the performance.
Oh and in case you’re curious as to why they chose Rae Sremmurd as their name, well it’s Ear Drummers spelled backwards. The name came about when Mike WiLL Made-It signed them to his Ear Drummers record label. It was a nod to the creative collab. Now you know. #SremmLife