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 production; it's fucking insane. I've heard hip-hop albums that I thought sounded anxious, but never anything *this* despondent. So utterly frantic to the point of being nearly nauseating, yet drained and apathetic. That may seem contradictory, but that's what emotion often is. BtTIGtP's production is almost like a translation of Ritchie and Parker's anxiety and grief from the past year. This is furthered by Ritchie's delivery often being lethargic or dejected. He enhances the emotional resonance of the beats through his own depressive rapping. What's even more of a punch to the gut is the occasional inclusion of some of Groggs' final recordings. They're sparse—scattered throughout the record—and never fail to hit like a truck. He would never be excluded from their best work, and I don't think anybody would want it any other way.
Injury Reserve has always been one to experiment with different styles or sounds, but never glitch-hop. I honestly shouldn't be shocked, but they incorporate it in such a creative way that is both a great addition to their style, and stunning to hear. It's perfect for the atmosphere of angst, depression, and grief I had mentioned earlier. I was gonna include this switch-up as a brief mention in the previous paragraph, but I think it's substantial enough to highlight in its own right. Artistic evolution is hard to pull off in a way that is satisfactory, and IR absolutely nailed it here (which is batshit insane considering the context in which this record was created).
Frankly, I could probably drone on for several more paragraphs, breaking the album down track-by-track. Hell, I don't even normally care about lyrics but they are outright fantastic on this project. However, I'll cut it short here, because I just want anybody reading this to experience this record. It's emotionally stunning, a beautiful exploration of grief, and simply an immaculate hip-hop album. Give Ritchie and Parker your love; they deserve it after the year they've had. Give Groggs' your memory, he earned it on several occasions.
FAVORITES: Outside | Superman That | SS San Francisco | Smoke Don't Clear | Postpostpartum | Knees
LEAST FAVORITES: Footwork in a Forest Fire | Ground Zero | Bye Storm
All of the least favs are very good so don't take it as me shitting on those songs.