Published May 23, 2019Comparing 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 best in the business on "What a Year It's Been" and "Best Spot in the House," and clearly have a good time playing off each other on lighter tracks like "Jailbreak the Tesla" and "Koruna & Lime."
Injury Reserve's real driving force, though, is producer Parker Corey. Corey, and this is true, was a competitive swimmer who got into beat-making while recovering from injury. As a result, he colours way outside the lines. He draws from a massive palette of sounds, ranging from winking nods at late '00s brostep, to samples of Godspeed! side project Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra, to what may actually be him banging on the side of a dryer. He is either a rule breaking genius, or the beat-making equivalent of a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters. Either way, it works. (Loma Vista)