Wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off, wait
Mid-album interlude 'Rap Song Tutorial' has, I think, two major functions. It operates, on the one hand, as a flex: between the drones of a text-to-speech bot, dictating a number (7) of instructions (pursuant to the song's title), a beat, hook and verse are assembled -- a song in a matter of minutes, and an impressive one at that. It is, on the other hand, a reduction of the trio's sound -- not least of which their self-titled, debut album -- a means of self-effacement, and a chance to poke fun at its self-seriousness.
Comparing artists to other artists is lazy music criticism, but sometimes there isn't a better way to say it, so here goes: imagine Das Racist, but 30 percent less pleased with themselves, combined with a version of Death Grips that isn't actively trying to be hard to listen to.
Stepa J. Groggs and Ritchie with a T are solid, if not remarkable, rappers. And that's fine. What sets them apart is that they feel like real dudes. There's no pretension — they're you, if you were much, much better at rapping. They convey emotion like the ….
Injury Reserve has been around for a while, but for some odd reason, only now are people taking notice. In 2016, the Arizona trio comprised of Stepa J. Groggs, Ritchie With a T and producer Parker Corey released their second, boisterous mixtape Floss, a project that began planting seeds, hinting at how great this trio could be. With their 2017 EP Drive It Like It's Stolen, their potential was all but realized, setting the stage for their explosive debut album to come.
Since they first emerged from the relatively sleepy streets of Arizona four years ago, Injury Reserve have been at the cutting edge of hip hop. The trio, made up of rappers Ritchie With a T and Stepa J. Groggs and producer Parker Cory (who also directs the group's music videos) have been staking a claim to the role of hip hop's next great innovators since their first mixtape Live from the Dentist Office.