Both acts brought the house down this Saturday at Republic, the first stop on their "Sremmlife 2" Tour.
When "No Flex Zone" came out in 2014, Rae Sremmurd seemed to enter that year’s lengthy canon of one-hit-wonders that also included OG Maco's “U Guessed It,” DeJ Loaf's “Try Me” and Bobby Shmurda's “Hot Nigga." Like those songs, it had a hot beat and catchy, repetitive lyrics, but not much else. But unlike the Shmurdas, Macos and Loaves of the time, Rae Sremmurd stuck around.
The Tupelo, Mississippi-born brothers (Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy) put out a massively successful debut album early last year and followed it up this summer with an even better sophomore effort. Where SremmLife boasted catchy hooks from Swae Lee and ridiculous production from Mike Will Made It, SremmLife 2 added in some legitimate lyrical content, especially from Slim Jimmy, and features from the likes of Kodak Black and Gucci Mane.
Saturday night, Rae Sremmurd brought their electrifying act to Republic, the first stop on the SremmLife 2 tour with Lil Yachty. Sremm affiliates Eearz, Bobo Swae, and Impxct filled out the undercard. Yachty hit the stage around midnight, setting the tone with his signature silliness. Yachty bounced around for about 45 minutes, rattling off the highlights of his hit-filled year, and Ugly God, who plays at The Willow this Friday, joined him onstage for a portion of his set. Yachty's unbelievably bad singing voice was painfully obvious during his brief a cappella runs, but it hardly mattered. His set was so much fun that no one cared about his vocal chops.
When Yachty first came to Republic with Young Thug this summer, he outshone his headliner in energy and charisma (no easy feat). That was not the case on Saturday. The crowd—packed like alcohol-infused sardines into The Republic’s limited space—went nuts for Yachty, but absolutely buck wild for Rae Sremmurd.
During the set break, the DJ played “My X” and “Up Like Trump” (prefaced by a “fuck Donald Trump” chant), two hits from Sremmlife that not only got the crowd moshing even before the show began, but also allowed Swae and Slim to focus on their new material for most of the night.
When Rae Sremmurd finally entered the stage to “Start a Party” (the SremmLife 2 opener), it felt like a bomb had gone off somewhere in the club. The explosion would continue for over an hour, as Swae and Slim blasted through their set, powered by a rare compound of energy, swagger, and pure, unadulterated fun. The crowd rose to their level, somehow never getting tired as it stumbled backward and forward in a kinetic jumble of asses and elbows. Miraculously, not one was hurt, but everyone left the show feeling decidedly, pleasantly shell-shocked.