swae lee guatemala

[Beat Check] Swae Lee Enlists a familiar collaborator and a familiar vibe for his new single “Guatemala”

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Swae Lee dropped his new single tonight, "Guatemala" off the upcoming project "Swaecation". One thing is for certain. If it ain't broke, don't switch it. 

Thanks to the EarDrummers fam for getting the full credits out at the time of release. We had to go through hell to find the credited producers and writers for Cardi B's amazing album "Invasion of Privacy". You can read all about our search for the creators here and read The Chopping Block producer POV review here. 

Swae announced earlier in the day on his Twitter, that new work was coming this evening.

Swae goes in. We were intrigued. At midnight I cracked open Tidal and checked for the credits. The song features the other half of Rae Sremmurd, his brother Slim Jxmmi. Why the heck not?

Credits for production besides the brothers Brown are attributed to Mally Mall, whose tag is heard in the intro. Karl Rubin and Tune Da Rula. Click their names to get hip. Mally also co-produced the high energy joint, "Powerglide" with MikeWillMadeIt.


Swae Lee
Slim Jxmmi
Rae Sremmurd
K. Brown
J. Rashid
K. Rubin
A. Akinwande
K. Rubin
J. Rashid
A. Akinwande
K. Brown
Akintunde ‘TuneDaRula’ Akinwande
Mally Mall
Karl Rubin

We pressed play and were greeted by some lovely piano work and the signature melodies of Swae Lee himself. A very light and airy flute laid a soft lead that reminded me of a breezy summer day on the sands of a tropical destination. The flute is so light it almost doesn't exist, but its still the lead. It's a refreshing usage of a sound that is currently very popular. My audio senses are being teased. I think the accent sounds going from the right ear to left ear helped with the breezy part. It literally felt like Lance Stephenson was blowing in my ear. The best beats are simple but loaded with minor, particular and well-placed details. 

The tag came in and then it happened. Drums. Not just any drums. Drums with a similar feel and pattern to French and Swae's smash hit, Unforgettable. Growing up on dancehall and reggae music, that particular pattern feels like a  riddim and its one guaranteed to make the body move involuntarily. Shoulder swiggle with the side to side head motion. Hips optional. Yes, that one.  It's what the producers surrounded it with that makes this joint a feel-good stand out sure to get a good amount of burn on the radio, in clubs and beyond. The countermelody drops after 2 dolla holla. Its a harshly blunt synth that perfectly contrasts the flute. That deep bassline sits perfectly in between the drums. Shout to the water drop percussion sound as well.

Kudos to those responsible for the sound selection. We get rolling hats and a slight crash. Crashes are special. DJ Khaled special. Jxmmi floats over the hats. They arranged those hats specifically for his part.. Did I mention how key arrangement is to a hit record? The outro keeps the trap tradition of rolling hats that standout like a guitar solo, transitioning into piano and clap time. For such a simple beat, that was a lot of detail and I probably missed something. Let's not forget the dope vocal production. We take all these things for granted but producers and engineers know when its right. They know when things are tuned and in key. They know frequencies and things that keep the listener moving and in a mood. The vibes are heavy with this one.

During his interview with On Repeat, Swae said they took a year touching up this record and it feels like they did. For one the vibe is similar to his hit from that period but the details are so beautifully executed and the arrangement under the vocals are so on point, you can tell precision and perfection were paramount with the record. Guatemala has earned a spot on my Summer 18 playlist. I might even play it right after Havana because foreign.

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