AOTY 2021

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

Injury Reserve - By the Time I Get to Phoenix
Critic Score
Based on 11 reviews
2021 Ratings: #111 / 682
User Score
2021 Ratings: #4
Liked by 190 people
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What these artists have pulled together in their last outing as a trio is something more than the sum of its parts, a paradoxical masterpiece that lies somewhere in the space between, blindingly bright and painfully incomprehensible.
It is an abstract, melancholic and affecting body of work that is not only another incredible addition to a stellar discography, but a magnificent and moving tribute to a friend gone too soon.

Injury Reserve’s new album is a truly dystopian impression of despair, smashing together polar opposite genres to create something wholly new. Is it post-rap? Who knows.

The Needle Drop
Injury Reserve pulled something of a masterpiece from a truly hellish year.
FLOOD Magazine

This certainly doesn’t feel like a logical next step for Injury Reserve, nor does it really feel like the next logical step from anything currently in existence.

Beats Per Minute

Injury Reserve could very well call it quits today, and everyone would be devastated. But there’d also be an understanding that, because they’ve released what is arguably their definitive record, they wouldn’t have any obligation to release anything else.

The Line of Best Fit

Despite the tough subject matter and even tougher pretenses surrounding the death of Groggs, By the Time I Get to Phoenix is a much needed commentary on a particularly dark time in history, offering to the masses a space of refuge and empathy amid collective trauma and loss.


Despite the successful release of their latest work, Injury Reserve’s future still stands in limbo. But if By the Time I Get to Phoenix is the group’s swan song, one thing is clear: the path to moving on is long and the work has just begun.

On their first album since member Stepa J. Groggs’ death, the Phoenix rap trio reintroduces themselves as wide-eyed explorers, a rep that suits their fascination with rap’s mechanics, its margins, and its future.
Loud and Quiet
We know this wasn’t the album Injury Reserve set out to make, but as difficult second albums go, we should just celebrate the fact it’s here at all.
Under The Radar
The album ends up feeling more like a patchwork of ideas than anything, resembling a puzzle with all of its pieces scattered.

Do you ever hear an album that makes absolutely no sense, yet at the same time, makes perfect sense? Have you ever felt that duality, that stark contrast, that perfect clash when listening to something? Because for me, 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix', the sophomore record from Injury Reserve, is exactly what that is; it is something that makes absolutely no sense, but it makes perfect sense. This is an album that is grief personified, laid out and dissected, to a horrifically accurate ... read more
Just finished my first listen, and I have no clue how to feel about this. Wtf is this? I mean I clearly am not fully getting it to some degree, but like this is barely a hip hop album. This is about as far of a left turn as possible. After the passing of Groggs, I don’t know what I expected, but this album literally sounds like a large chunk was violently ripped out of it, and the damage/debris from the tear are part of the experience. The instrumentals are barely functional, and the ... read more
This should've been a mistake...

By almost all accounts, this should have been a terrible idea. Groggs was a vital member of the group. The three man weave *is* Injury Reserve, The prospect of taking any single one of them out of the equation is one that is reasonably met with hesitance, yet they pulled it off. Ritchie and Parker successfully made both the best album they've ever released, as well as an incredible tribute to their late friend.

The first thing I have to talk about is the ... read more
Post-pretentiousness: the whole album sounds like freestyling over your indie-head bestie playing random mashups and you recorded it off a very good mic in some random field

-1 points because it isn't Kanye West
-1 points because he said 5G
-1 points because Ritchie only said "check it" once

+99 points because this is the second album to make me cry

by the time i get to phoenix 🖼️❤️☀️🧍🏻

mind-boggling (middle nine)

what if you had a campfire party ... read more
it's almost as if you can hear the band's physical reaction to groggs' death through the music.
there is no album like this one.
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Added on: August 10, 2021