ALBUM REVIEW: INJURY RESERVE- Injury Reserve
Best Tracks: Jailbreak the Tesla, Wax On, Three Man Weave
Injury Reserve is the self-titled debut by the rap group Injury Reserve. Injury Reserve hails from Arizona and includes members Stepa J. Groggs, Ritchie with a T and Parker Corey, their producer. The trio formed in 2013 and have since released three mixtapes and two EPs, the most popular of them being Floss and Live From the Dentist Office. Injury Reserve is a group that embraces a lot of different sounds and infuses them into their music, injecting their sound in the veins of post-industrial, 90s boom bap, rock and electronic. On their self-titled album, Stepa J. Groggs and Ritchie spit clever lyrics in their distinct flows with the album’s guest features doing the same. This albums guest highlights include Rico Nasty in Jawbreaker who delivers a down to earth verse, Amine in Jailbreak the Tesla who comes in at the end with relevant and funny bars and Cakes Da Killa who crashes in hard and fast on GTFU. Injury Reserve begins with Koruna & Lime, backed with a beat reminiscent of Odd Future, introducing the rappers and the group itself by describing brand deals and the group’s avoidance of a genre label. Throughout the album you can find a sampling of very different, crunchy and melodic sounds on timely topics like Instagram, Elon Musk, Hypebeasts and depression. The last track ends off with Three Man Weave wherein Groggs and Ritchie rap on the group’s connectedness and collaboration throughout the duration of their careers featuring a sample of Phoenix’s Embuscade orchestrated by Parker Corey.
Some of the album’s best tracks are Jailbreak the Tesla, Wax On and Three Man Weave. It is evident throughout this work that Parker Corey, who curates the unorthodox rap beats and the guest appearances were the ones who carried a lot of the weight of this album’s freshness and boundary pushing aesthetics. However, this is not to take away from Groggs and Ritchie’s lyricism that is mostly consistent throughout the album, they preserve the “Injury Reserve sound” with their rapped lyrics and in tandem, Corey pushes it past the borders of what rap music sounds like. This album strikes me as a continuation and expansion of Injury Reserve’s fragmented, but original sound which takes hold through Parker Corey’s production while also keeping it accessible through the rhymes of Stepa and Ritchie. Injury Reserve is one of 2019’s most experimental, energetic and fun rap albums and is most definitely worth a listen.