Rae Sremmurd premieres new song at X Games Aspen
Near the end of an hour-long set that opened three days of mountainside outdoor concerts at X Games Aspen on Friday night, Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee announced he’d be debuting a new solo song and asked the enthusiastic crowd, “Only in Aspen for X Games, can I do some exclusive shit?”
Making his way to the edge of the mosh pit, he said he’d be watching his fans closely as they heard it for the first time: “Nobody here is going to know these words — I want to see some real reactions.”
The hip-hop duo’s DJ then spun a few minutes of the unreleased track, which features a trap beat and Swae repeating lines like “I got it straight out my system” and “Get that hate out my system.” Swae said he expected to release it by the end of February, with a full solo album to follow.
The slopeside Buttermilk Ski Area venue roared for the premiere after Swae’s build-up. And as the track played, he hyped up the spectators, dancing and pumping his arms and head-banging among them.
The other half of the duo, Slxm Jimmi, also shared an unreleased solo song, a rowdy new collaboration with DaBaby called “Mic Check.”
As on those two songs, the duo leaned heavily on recorded tracks spun by D_JaySremm for most of the set, singing and rapping in short bursts over the recorded versions. The X Gamers were unfazed, though, happy to dance and sing along to a set list packed with the Atlanta-based siblings’ string of hits as fans know them, following word-for-word as Rae Sremmurd opened with a party-starting run of “No Type,” “No Flex Zone,” “Perplexing Pegasus” and “Come Get Her.”
The duo put a herculean effort into on-stage antics and fan interaction — both jumping into the crowd multiple times, Slim turning the microphone over to an audience member to freestyle, Swae doing the Batusi, playing air guitar and smashing pineapples, both brothers often lavishing praise on an fiery young audience that Swae called “one of the littest crowds in North America.”
It’s hard to be let down by a show with so much action (lasers and fog machines, strobe lights and a story-high video screen playing animations accompanying the Rae Sremmurd bangers) but it was a let-down. Swae and Slim are studio wizards who’ve made some of the best hip-hop songs of the past decade, no doubt, but one of the things that’s set them apart is the distinct and often surprising interplay of Swae’s disarmingly gentle harmonies and high notes juxtaposed against Slim’s rough-edged verses. Anybody hoping to see that play out live on the X Games stage left this show disappointed, though most of this crowd didn’t seem to mind the pantomime and karaoke-style set.
Several times at the beginning or end of songs — including “Swang,” “Black Beatles” and “Sunflower” — Swae did sing a verse a capella or he vamped, plugging references to Colorado, snowboarding, Aspen and X Games into the most familiar of Rae Sremmurd lyrics.
The chilly midwinter air may have hampered the duo’s vocals, of course. It was cold, with the temperatures in the 30s, though that’s balmy by the standards of X Games nighttime concerts when single-digit temps have been a regular occurrence over the past six years.
After closing the set with “Powerglide,” Swae did hint that the cold might have slowed him down: “I got pneumonia or something f-ing with y’all!”
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