Modern hip-hop has become one of the most popular music genres in the world and has produced new acts that have helped the genre to breakthrough. One of them is the duo Rae Sremmurd, who stormed onto the scene in 2014 with the title No Flex Zone. The song was produced by superstar producer Mike Will Made-It and caused such a stir that established acts such as Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj were able to record their remixes of the hit.
This is the story of Rae Sremmurd’s beginnings, her career to date and the tragedy that has shaped her public life.
Who is Rae Sremmurd?
Since her stage name looks like the name of a single person, casual music fans may not know that they are a duo. Rae Sremmurd consists of two persons, the brothers Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee.
Slim Jxmmi is the older of the two and was born on 29 December 1993. His real name is Aaquil Iben Shamon Brown. The younger brother and more popular act, Swae Lee, was born on June 7, 1995. His real name is Khalif Malik Ibn Shamon Brown.
Both brothers were born in Whittier, California as the son of Bernadette Walker. They have a third sibling named Michael. As for their father, his identity remains a mystery as he left the family a few years after her birth.
Their mother worked in the army and as a result, the family spent their childhood moving around a lot from state to state. The family temporarily settled in Fort Hood, Texas, and gave the brothers the chance to build a life, including learning to write music together. When Swae Lee, the younger brother, was ten years old, he started learning music production with the popular software Fruity Loops.
Eventually, his mother left the army and the Brown family settled in Tupelo, Mississippi. They secured an apartment in the housing projects on Ida Street and moved in with their new stepfather. At this time, the brothers were introduced to the difficult life in the projects, especially through their stepfather, Floyd Sullivan, who was a drug dealer.
The Rocky Road to Fame
They started making music in their mother’s basement while still in high school, writing their songs and making their beats. Later they formed a hip-hop band, Dem Outta ST8 Boyz, with a Jemiah Middlebrooks. With the money they earned from their part-time jobs, they produced and published their songs along with videos on social media.
After the paths of her mother and stepfather separated, Rae Sremmurd intensified her musical development, which led to a break with her mother. The brothers left school and her mother threw them out of the house, contrary to her decision and the reason for it.
As Dem Outta ST8 Boyz they released their first single Party Animal in 2010. The single had local success and earned them airtime on local radio stations and at festivals. As the years went by and they became famous with performances on the BET show 106 & Park, Dem Outta ST8 Boyz became more and more popular. In 2012 they released several projects, including the Three Stooges mixtape.
After financial and personal challenges that temporarily disbanded the group, Dem Outta ST8 Boyz regrouped and moved to Georgia. They quickly attracted attention in the Atlanta hip-hop scene and were signed to Made-It Mafia by famous producer Mike Will Made-It.
Shortly after they were signed to the label, one of the members of the group, King Dre, left the group, leaving only the Brown brothers. They decided to rename the group Rae Sremmurd and took the stage names Slim Jxmmi from Aaquil and Swae Lee from Khalif.
Their first promotional single We, like Rae Sremmurd, was released under Mike Will Made-It’s mixtape, #MikeWiLLLBeenTriLL. With growing attention to their music and increased airplay on the radio, they released their first official single No Flex Zone.
Finding Musical Success
No flex zone quickly became a lightning rod for Rae Sremmurd’s success. The song entered the US Billboard Hot 100 Charts in 2014, reaching number 36 and marking the duo’s first official success. The song sold more than two million copies and entered the charts in other music markets like Canada and Belgium.
Their second single No Type also became a hit. It reached number 16 in the Billboard Hot 100 and sold more than 4.3 million copies. Her video, which was released on YouTube, was viewed more than 750 million times.
With two successful singles under her belt, Rae Sremmurd recorded and released her debut album SremmLife. The album was a critical and commercial success. It debuted at number 5 of the Billboard 200 and sold more than a million copies.
Since the release of their first album, they have dropped two more, including a third, SremmLife 4, which is scheduled for release in 2020. They have also released other hit singles, such as the 2016 hit Black Beatles, which sold more than 11 million copies and climbed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Rae Sremmurds successful career also includes several awards at the Billboard Music Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards, BET Awards. They also have their record label SremmLife Crew Records, which was founded in 2016. The label consists of music acts like the Brown Brothers, Impact, Riff 3x and Bobo Swae.
What Happened to Rae Sremmurd’s Stepfather?
On January 7th, 2020 the news arrived that Rae Sremmurd had lost her stepfather Floyd Sullivan. According to the report, he was shot several times the day before. A preliminary investigation made her half-brother, Michael Sullivan, a person interested in the shooting. Michael, who is mentally ill, was arrested as the prime suspect for the murder.
Michael Sullivan is one of two half-brothers that Rae Sremmurd has in common. The second is Floyd Sullivan Jr., who was born as the son of her mother and stepfather.