Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Rae Sremmurd – Swang



Alfred Soto: Hearing this deluxe edition extra track on the radio a few weeks ago surprised me — I thought my affection for it was a private matter. Swae’s weary tones suggest exhaustion with lifestyle if not form, making “Swang” one of the few good recent singles about the hard knock life that eschews smarm. Swae and Slim’s snotty attitude ensures a wisdom-free listening experience.

Ryo Miyauchi: What Sremmlife 2 singles gave up in instant meme-ability, they’ve made up for it by allowing Swae Lee to vocalize more freely than ever. His elastic exhale is the main draw of “Swang,” but what wins over is his cracking falsetto that I wish he would one day indulge more in a record where all he does is sing.

Will Adams: “Swang” seemed airier when I listened without headphones; upon closer inspection, there’s a giant bass anchoring everything. Rae Sremmurd still keep it light, though, and Swae Lee’s sudden falsetto leap is particularly charming.

Thomas Inskeep: The deliciously woozy production from Mike WiLL protege P-Nasty is fine, but what makes this — as with most Rae Sremmurd tracks — is the exuberance with which Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee rap.

Mark Sinker: “Coulda went to school to be a doctor,” asserts Slim Jxmmi two-thirds in, and it’s like we pull focus on the stately funeral-march synth brass and Swae Lee’s party squeaks and lazy what-me-worry bravado into the brutal bleakness of the lack of a way out, forwards or backwards. Resigned melancholy seems almost inevitable, even if that’s my tremendous age talking, onlooker at something awful that hasn’t quite arrived: silhouette shadows heedless-dancing up against a watchfire on a blasted headland as the invading navy makes landfall…

Maxwell Cavaseno: Rae Sremmurd and their benefactor Mike WiLL have to be some of the most boring things going on in rap. Mike WiLL gets how to craft magnanimous-sounding beats that rarely occupy the current climate by belonging to a certain style in vogue. In a strange way, it’s a bizarro land Timbaland approach, except replacing the excess of exertion with inflation. The beat and performers on “Swang” sound colossally gaseous and aimless, with Swae Lee turning in a performance that borders on effortless and thoughtless (a particular skill of his). But with all that laconic glaze comes a smeary, sticky grossness that feels hardly sustainable. Empty calorie pop rap, which is starting to make me puke when I hear it.

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