Rae Sremmurd Explode Onstage at Hype Hotel for SXSW 2015 Performance
Mississippi duo Rae Sremmurd didn't take the stage at Hype Hotel for SXSW in Austin, Texas on Friday night (March 20) so much as explode on to it. A wild, exhilarating blast of power and noise, the rap tandem steamrolled through a breathless 45-minute set, the only aim of which was apparently to flatten everything in their paths.
They largely succeeded. By far the week's most frenetic and galvanizing rap set at SXSW, Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy were whirling dynamos onstage, leaping into the air, bouncing from one end of the stage to the other and hollering their lyrics at a breakneck pace. Their songs are perfectly suited to the live setting. The production is minimal; most of them consist of little more than stomach-hammering bass and eerie, icicle-drip synths, leaving plenty of space for the duo to charge through.
Opening with "No Flex Zone," their voices raced and lunged, adding invisible exclamation points after every word in the hook and punching the air frantically for extra emphasis. Another song, "Unlock the Swag," heaved and lurched, blue-light bass notes groaning behind the Brown brothers' booming voices. "Illest Walking" was a white streak of sound, their voices pitching gradually upward as the song progressed until they were practically screeching at its conclusion. The song was a masterclass in controlled dynamics; it started creeping and ominous, then gradually worked up to full detonation. "Up Like Trump" was even more harrowing, stabbing synths lunging between cavernous percussion.
But Rae Sremmurd's most effective instrument was their own voices; they at times seemed to defy the laws of physics, delivering syllables faster than the human ear could process them. Every sound was short and clipped and pummeling. They blitzed through "That Got Damn," manic and worked up.
They also had a flair for the comical. For the majority of the set, members of Rae Sremmurd's crew held up giant cardboard cutouts of the brothers' faces behind them. It was knowingly cartoonish, but ultimately unnecessary - Rae Sremmurd were larger than life on their own.