Swae Lee needs no introduction. Coming up as one-half of rap duo Rae Sremmurd alongside Slim Jxmmi, real name Khalif Brown made a name for himself with his catchy melodic tone and undeniable ability to make hit records. Born in Inglewood, California but raised in Texas, Swae spent his teenage years experimenting with production and learning how to mix his vocals. Fast forward to 2020, he’s one of the hottest recording artists to grace the music industry.
Of course, Rae Sremmurd is responsible for some of rap’s most lit records to date such as “Flex,” “Come Get Her,” “Black Beatles,” “No Type” and more. And let’s not forget about Swae’s solo feature on French Montana’s “Unforgettable.” With Swae blessing the hook, the viral song became an international sensation — accumulating over three billion streams.
Now to hold fans over until his next project release, he unleashes his newest single titled “Dance Like No One’s Watching.” The song is paired with an animated visual of Swae watching over a virtual dance party, reminding folks to live it up in life because tomorrow ain’t promised.
REVOLT caught up with the artist to discuss how the new single came about, his take on the Black Lives Matter movement, his relationship Pop Smoke and much more. Peep below.
“Dance Like No One’s Watching” out now! How you feeling?
I’m feeling good man, this joint’s going crazy. It’s banging, the kids fucking with it. Fans fucking with it.
Bring us back to the studio session. Where were you? What was the vibe?
I was overseas. When I wrote the hook, we were actually in China at this restaurant.
I had a show out there, did the show, then came back to America and had that hook in my head. I did it on tour, one of my producers I was going to sign made the beat. My producer had sent me the beat, I’m like, “Yo, I gotta lay this shit down.” I recorded that hook on me and Post Malone’s tour.
How long ago was that?
It was six months ago. It was actually the last song I made before I cut my dreads. All my juice was in that song (laughs).
The beat is hard. What did you feel when you first heard it?
Yeah, the beat is ridiculous. When I heard it, I said, “Man, this beat is a hit.” I had to add some words. Whatever I say is going to go because the beat is already going.
The record is perfect for clubs. Were you inspired by the nightlife in China?
That shit was lit, not going to lie. In China, I didn’t know my fans could turn up like that. They really knew all the words, [had] fan signs. We have a real big fanbase out there. They came to the show wearing Rae Sremmurd hair, the Rae Sremmurd dreads. Just crazy.
How much do you miss performing?
I miss performing so much. You never realize how big that was until you can’t do it anymore. Now that we can’t do it, I really noticed how entertaining and fun it was. Definitely missing that.
Who’s idea was it to have a virtual dance party in the visual?
I fuck with my graphic designer, he was coming with all kinds of ideas. I was saying I [wanted] there to be a lot of movement, and cameras to symbolize someone watching me. Some futuristic shit — them shades I got on. I had the Tesla chip in my ear to program me to do all the dance moves. We came together to think of some trippy shit. It fit the vibe of the song.
Why was there a surveillance camera behind you?
There’s somebody watching me at all times. The feds are watching.
What were the fans’ reactions when you premiered it at Rolling Loud virtually?
They’re like, “Spin it back, spin it back! Drop it now.” Shit, it’s time for me to drop this hoe. I have to give the people what they want. They ask and they shall receive, gotta give the fans what they want.
Was there any hesitation dropping it during COVID-19 since you can’t tour?
A little, but man I have to get my shit out. I can’t let too much time go by.
How have you been holding up during quarantine?
Quarantine actually turned out to be something beautiful. I was able to finish my album and gain weight — getting swole on these folks.
What’s your workout regimen?
My workout regimen right now is to eat, stay up all night, waist exercises, cardio, smoking Kush Ups. Gotta do your Kush Ups every day, at least 20. Eating good quality food, playing a little basketball.
Did you go vegan on us?
Nah I can’t go vegan, that shit’s too hard. That vegan shit different.
I love the positivity in your music and your energy overall. What do you do for self-care?
Kush Ups (laughs), and stay grounded. Wake up every day, look at what’s in front of me and remember where I came from. It drives me to keep going and stay uplifted, so I never go back to that.
What was Swae like back then?
I had an afro, still very playeristic. A little skinners. Just living life, carefree.
Did you ever think you’d be where you are now?
I knew I’d be a performer, at least I hoped to be. I never knew what fame really was until I got it. Damn, this shit crazy. In a good way for the most part. People want to give you free food all the time, you might get some free clothes here and there. It’s crazy, a lot of perks.
What does the Black Lives Matter movement mean to you?
The Black Lives Matter movement to me isn’t saying we’re the only race that matters, it’s don’t forget that we matter, too. Black Lives Matter, too. We’re only saying this because of the years and years and years, decades and generations of mistreatment. It’s obvious, it’s in our history in the United States. For whatever reason, when it could all be so simple. Treat us how you treat the next human being, don’t forget that we have lives, too. We can’t help that our skin is a couple shades darker. Like any other race, we still have amazing human beings, too. Don’t treat us like animals. Black Lives Matter. It’s not saying to forget every other race, a lot of people have treated us like they’ve forgotten about our race.
As someone with a huge platform, how can you continue to push the narrative?
I can keep setting a good example for my people who are looking up to me. Showing them there’s other ways to make it out of negative situations, make it out from the bottom. You can follow your dreams, your dreams can catch you. You can really get that something you want. It’s possible, you can overcome everything. Show them positive things you can do if you put your mind to it, put your grind to it and focus.
What did it mean to be part of Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon?
Legendary, so amazing. Bruh was such an amazing person, so talented. To be a part of it, we fucked with each other in real life. We always show love to each other. It was dope. Still dope, forever dope.
What’s your greatest memory with him?
When he posted my shoes, I thought that was dope. It was when I had dropped my shoes with Giuseppe. He posted it for me.
You say you never know what version of Swae we’re going to get. What can we expect from your new album Human Nature?
You can expect infectious bops, infectious beats, infectious lyrics, and infectious melodies. It’s nothing you’ve ever heard before. I’m not recycling lyrics, not remaking songs, none of that. It’s all original pioneer shit, all new shit. You can’t compare it to anything. It’s me.
Why’d you name it Human Nature?
First of all, because it’s something relatable. It basically sums up everything. Feeling sad, feeling happy, it’s such a collective of things that it’s such a broad topic. So much happens in the topic of human nature because we do so much as people. I had so many different vibes. I’m not talking about one thing, I’m talking about so many different things. Different activities and emotions. What is this? It’s human nature. It’s shit that we do and feel.
What features can we expect?
I got some good features on there. I’m not trying to have it oversaturated with everybody in the industry. A couple of my homies that really fuck with me and I fuck with them, got them on there. There’s no basic artists. Some real top dogs on my shit.
Can we get one exclusive?
I got my dog Roddy Ricch, we got a real big crazy one. Don’t tell anybody.
Is it true you and Mike WiLL Made-It created 733 tracks for the album?
Man, me and Mike Will got so many songs. I’m sitting on songs on songs on songs. Too many songs.
How many tracks will be on the album?
I’ma to have to drop three albums next year. No cap. I’ma be mad if some of the songs don’t make the first album, then I’ma be mad if some don’t make the second album, then I’ma be mad if some don’t make the third album. I’ma have to keep dropping more albums. By the time I drop the third album, I’ma probably have 200 more songs and some of them are going to be better than those other songs. It’s a good problem for sure. But, it’s a domino effect.
How’s it feel having your exclusive Pokémon card?
That shit’s so crazy, a fucking Pokémon card bro. That shit’s so hard. I forgot to post that on my page… Goddamn, that shit’s legendary. Very rare.
What’s your favorite Pokémon?
I like Charizard, but you know what I like more than Pokémon? I like Digimon. It’s a different Pokémon, an off brand. Digimon is lit.
Is there a release date for Human Nature?
I’ve been thinking about a release date because I don’t like this COVID shit. I don’t want my music catching COVID, so I’m not dropping during this shit. I’ma drop in January. If it’s not over by January, something’s wrong. I’ma end it myself.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Human Nature on the way man. On the fucking way.