About Swae Lee
On their inescapable 2016 single, “Black Beatles,” the fraternal Mississippi rap duo Rae Sremmurd brashly anointed themselves as rightful heirs to the Fab Four’s throne. But more than just brand their imprimatur on rock’s most sacred cow, “Black Beatles” also signified the creative dynamic between the two brothers—and compared to his sibling Slim Jxmmi’s gritty, braggadocious flow, Swae Lee is Rae Sremmurd’s resident Paul McCartney, the unerringly melodic foil who can infuse even the most self-aggrandizing lyrics with a sweet, playful charm. Born in California in 1993 but raised in Tupelo, Mississippi, Swae (né Khalif Brown) first flashed his tuneful irreverence on “No Flex Zone,” the quirky 2014 earworm that broke Rae Sremmurd nationally and instantly distinguished them from the mid-2010s trap pack. But after the global chart-topping success of “Black Beatles,” Swae has been parlaying Rae Sremmurd’s fame into an equally fruitful solo career, transforming the words “feat. Swae Lee” into a veritable hip-hop status symbol. His swooning guest turn on French Montana’s 2017 dancehall tune “Unforgettable” ensured the song more than lived up to its name, while his performance on the tropical digi-pop confection “Sunflower”—the theme song to the 2018 animated blockbuster Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse—was so dreamy and euphoric, you almost forgot he shared star billing with Post Malone. Swae’s songwriting smarts have also gained him entry into the world beyond hip-hop, with pop stars like Madonna and Ellie Goulding tapping his carefree swagger. But for all his solo success, Swae remains committed to the SremmLife: His 2018 full-length debut, Swaecation, was released as one chapter of Rae Sremmurd’s triple-album set SR3MM. As that release confirmed, the contrast between Swae’s cheerily chill personna and his brother’s tough trap style may be becoming more pronounced, but these Beatles aren’t breaking up.
BORNJune 7, 1993