Swae Lee first found success as part of Southern sibling hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd. He was born Khalif Malikibnsham Brown in Inglewood, California, but his family relocated to Tupelo, Mississippi when he and his brother Slim Jxmmi, aka Aaquil Ibinshaman Brown, were very young. The brothers were raised in the Ida Street housing projects, which were notorious for their high crime levels. Around this time the brothers' parents split up, which eventually led to them seeking shelter in abandoned homes in the area. Music proved to be a useful escape for Lee and Jxmmi, and they found a role model in rapper David Banner, who also hailed from Mississippi. They began their path in music by forming Dem Outta St8 Boyz with Jemiah Middlebrooks. Eventually, the brothers struck out on their own, and had local success with the single "Party Animal." In 2013 the duo signed to the EarDrummers Entertainment label as Rae Sremmurd, which was the label name spelled backwards. They went on to release two studio records via the label, SremmLife and SremmLife 2. In 2016 Lee announced that he was working on a debut solo record called Swaecation. Alongside his solo work he also contributed material to Beyoncé's Lemonade and wrote for Katy Perry.