At some point in life we probably have all been told about the importance of reaching for the moon. Many young artists interpret the cliché saying as working towards goals like getting a record deal, having an album go platinum and maybe even being revered as one of the legends in their respective genre. For newcomers Rae Sremmurd, all of that would certainly be great, but their vision for reaching for the moon is a little more literal. “We want to be the first rappers on the moon,” says Swae Lee, before his brother Slim Jimmy corrects him. “No. We want to be the first artists on the moon.”
While their dreams of space travel may never become a reality, it is very, very possible that their music careers are on the verge of taking off. Their Mike Will Made It-produced “No Flex Zone” – an already hot song – has just gotten hotter with the release of a series of remixes including versions by Nicki Minaj, Pusha T, and Juicy J. The Mississippi natives are also the first group signed to Mike Will’s Ear Drummers imprint, which says a lot being that the hit-maker behind records for JAY Z, Rihanna and Jeezy has taken the brothers under his wing.
Here, Life + Times gets introduced to Rae Sremmurd and learns the meaning behind their name, how they connected with Mike Will Made It and what exactly a no flex zone is.
Life + Times: Congratulations on the success of “No Flex Zone.”
Slim Jimmy: Thanks. We knew it was going to be a good song, but it definitely blew up quicker than I expected. We always try to make something different and something that is going to stick out when we’re recording, but we didn’t think so many different kinds of people would love it the way they do.
L+T: What exactly is a “no flex zone”?
SJ: It’s a place where everybody is just being themselves, vibin’ out and having a good time. They’re having fun. It’s a no bullshit zone. It’s a zone where no one is being extra.
Swae Lee: We are going to have to take you to a no flex zone. You’re going to have to be in a club with it to really experience it and then you’re going to know what a no flex zone is.
L+T: Were you surprised when you found out that big names like Nicki Minaj, Pusha T and Juicy had remixed the song.
SJ: A few of those remixes caught us by surprise. The official remix is Nicki Minaj and Pusha T, but all of the others versions are crazy too.
SL: We were on Twitter and saw all of these tweets with fans telling us how crazy these verses were. That’s how we found out about the other versions.
L+T: How exciting has it been seeing fans react to “No Flex Zone” when you perform it live?
SL: It’s been crazy. We’ve seen young kids and grown folks screaming at the top of their lungs “no flex zone!”
SJ: People have really been showing us love. They’ve been like “These dudes are crazy, but I fuck with them.” People have just been supporting the movement.
L+T: How did you link up with Mike Will Made It?
SL: We were doing a lot of work and shows in Mississippi. Our big bro Big Nasty had heard us and liked what he was hearing. Eventually, Mike Will heard a few of our songs and ended up liking them. That’s how we got a deal with Mike Will.
L+T: Has working so closely with a certified hit-maker like Mike Will changed your approach to making music?
SL: No. We just do what got us here. We just constantly stay working and stay busy.
L+T: Where does the name Rae Sremmurd come from?
SL: It’s “Ear Drummers” spelled backwards.
L+T: Has working as brothers been more of a gift or curse?
SJ: I hate that dude man. I hate working with him [laughs].
SL: Sometimes I just want to slap Jimmy in the face [laughs].
SJ: But honestly, it’s real easy, man. We just go in the studio and if a beat grabs our attention off the rip and everything is good around us we just vibe out and make a track.
L+T: You guys have a very unique style. Has individuality and standing out always played a part in your style growing up?
SJ: We never want to be like anybody else or to follow in anybody’s footsteps. We always want to set the trends, break barriers, break borders and do stuff you wouldn’t expect.
L+T: That’s in relation to your style, but will that translate into the music also?
SJ: Definitely. We’re always trying to do something different with our music. We want to be creative with different flows and just create a different sound.
L+T: What can we expect from your upcoming Sremm Life EP?
SJ: Expect something different. Expect some dope music. Expect something young, but something that can be adapted to any age. Everyone is going to be able to fuck with it.
L+T: When do you plan on releasing the EP?
SJ: We can’t put an exact date on it. We’re traveling city to city and building up the buzz and the following right now.
L+T: Who have you worked with for the EP?
SL: We have some big features lined up, but those are a secret for now. We’re going to keep them on the low for a bit.
L+T: Who are some of the artists that have influenced Rae Sremmurd?
SJ: We listen to a little bit of everybody.
SL: We’re influenced by all of the greats like JAY Z, Biggie, Pac, and Outkast. We grew up listening to all of the greats.