Rae Sremmurd, a hip hop duo from Tupelo, Miss., bears some explaining. Pronounced “Ray-Shrim-er,” the name is also “drummers ear” spelled backwards. Why drummers ear? It’s an homage to their record label, Ear Drummer Entertainment, and to friend and producer Mike WiLL’s production team, Eardruma.
Fans don’t care about all of that. They care about the boisterous and fun live show that brothers Slim Jxmm and Swae Lee bring to the stage every time they perform.
Born in Los Angeles but transplanted to Tupelo as youngsters, the brothers found themselves living on their own after their parents split and squatting in abandoned buildings they later turned into pop-up party and performance spaces.
They don’t have to take over abandoned buildings any more. They now curate their own hometown festival, Sremm Fest that took place in Tupelo across three days and two venues in December.
Self-taught in the arts of recording, making beats and DJing, the pair got a break with an appearance on BET’s “106th & Park” and the attention of Tupelo native P-Nasty, who brought them to Eardruma Records and Interscope. Their first album, StremmLife, went platinum with more than 180,000 units sold and spawned four singles, most notably “No Flex Zone” with Nicki Minaj and Pusha T.
Mike WiLL brought Rae Sremmurd to the attention of ICM Partners agents Caroline Yim and Zach Iser. Yim first saw them at SXSW, and knew they were on to something.
“Mike had been talking to us for a while, and we were like, ‘What are you saying?’” Yim said, laughing. “But we met them officially at South By Southwest in 2014 and I haven’t had so much fun as I did at their show. They have so much energy and creativity on the stage.”
In less than two years, Rae Sremmurd has booked more than 230 appearances. They’ll announce a global headlining tour next month with the release of SremmLife 2 on Aug. 12.
“The idea was to get the most looks possible and get them in front of as many fans as possible,” Iser told Pollstar. “They opened for Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne, and did their own college tour. We have played 24 festivals including Coachella, and got them on stage with Beyoncé in Chicago. That’s pretty substantial. Now, we are now going to develop the hard ticket with the full world tour on the second album.