It was already revealed that Swae Lee—one half of the animated rap duo Rae Sremmurd—is one of the main co-writers credited on Beyoncé's "Formation," but his contribution to the record goes even deeper. In an interview with The New Yorker, producer Mike Will Made-It explained how the song's concept came about during a 2014 Coachella trip. He stated,
“So we’re in the middle of the desert. And we’re just coming up—we just freestyle, you know?—and Swae Lee said, ‘O.K., ladies, now let’s get in formation.’ And we put it on the VoiceNote. Swae Lee’s got so many voice notes that he doesn’t even record, but I’m like, ‘Dog, we got to do that “get in formation” shit.’ That could be a hard song for the ladies. Some woman-empowerment shit. Like, ‘Ladies, let’s get in line, let’s not just fall for anything.’ I’m seeing that vision.”
He goes on to say Swae Lee “ended up just laying it down" in the studio after they returned from Coachella. After running into the pop star at a hotel with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bey told the producer she wanted the track:
And Bey was like, ‘Yo, I like that “formation” idea.’ And I told her what I was thinking about the woman empowerment, and she was like, ‘Yeah I kinda like that idea.’ And she just left it like that. We were just thinking about it being a female anthem. Because I knew I just wanted a banger with Beyoncé, like a ‘Single Ladies,’ but I wanted it to be a new kind of chant.”
The two then worked on "Formation" in a NYC studio for a week, with Beyoncé adding the verses. Well there you have it kids! One of the most exciting rap acts out right now (who don't get enough credit) is behind your favorite Beyoncé song.
Rae Sremmurd are gearing up for the release of their sophomore album, SremmLife 2, on Aug. 12. While we wait, check out our roundup of the best music videos of 2016 so far where they make an appearance.