Injury Reserve - Injury Reserve
Apr 11, 2023
A great debut album.

Injury Reserve's self titled record follows their two mixtapes and 2017 EP that I all hold relatively positive feelings towards, as the group always provides with punchy hooks, great verses, and forward thinking production styles. On their 2019 venture, this all remains the same, instead with more experimental ideas, more features, and artsier ballads for the band.

I mean, it's Injury Reserve, what isn't there to say by this point? They're absolutely awesome and make some of the most fun hip-hop out there (well, at least up to this point), and this record is no different. They bring out some really cool energies throughout this record, whether it be the hardcore energies Ritchie brings to many of the tracks, or even the calmer, catchier hooks or almost effortless sounding flows that are so freaking smooth. The tracklist is a bit scattered in ideas here, with many more interlude tracks such as the QWERTY Interlude, a short rap verse from Lil QWERTY, Rap Song Tutorial, a brilliant idea of an interlude that also jabs at the lack of creativity in a lot of modern hip-hop records in the mainstream, or Hello?!, which feels almost uncanny in a sort of way I can't really describe besides that feeling of the unknown. As for actual full length tracks, Parker leans much more into electronic and industrial influences, with tracks such as the high octane GTFU or slight deconstructed club inspired banger Jailbreak the Tesla, you'll hear a generally harsher, more electronic inspired sound from the group, compared to the jazzier sounds on the mixtapes or the west coast sound on the EP. However, that isn't to say that you don't get your fair share of jazzier cuts, with tracks like Gravy n' Biscuits or Three Man Weave that remind you of that group's prominence in a much more upbeat approach to jazz rap that seems to have only gotten darker through the sLUms movement and the underground leaning into generally darker sounds. There are even more orchestral and grandiose, almost baroque approaches to certain tracks such as the second half of GTFU with it's grandiose string sections or New Hawaii's artsy crescendo of a classical outro that feels so warming after the many electronic layerings that were presented in that track.

As for lyrical substance, as per most IR records, they go over a variety of topics, from critiquing modern hip-hop trends and fashion styles(Jawbreaker, Rap Song Tutorial), reflection on their own lives (Wax On, What a Year It's Been), reflection on their relationships with friends and loved ones (Best Spot in the House, New Hawaii), and then general upbeat bangers that aren't as lyrically dense, but still provide loads of fun in the process (Jailbreak the Tesla, Gravy n' Biscuits, Three Man Weave), but through this, we get pockets of intense fun, and moments of heavy reflection. Some of my favorite lyrical moments hear include Groggs verse on Wax On, where he discusses how even with his newfound fame and things such as a verified Twitter mark, it means little to him as a "celebrity" as he ultimately wants to provide for his family and become better as a person, or Rico Nasty's verse on trends in fashion and how she dresses the way she does for herself and nobody else. My favorite lyrical moment on the entirety of the record has to go to Ritchie's verse on New Hawaii, right before the end of the song. Ritchie provides this really beautiful almost spoken word verse that goes over him dreaming of a future with someone he has intense feelings for, dreaming of their lives together, their kids, and this overall feeling of intense love that ultimately ends the penultimate track on a beautiful note, easily one of IR's best tracks in my personal opinion due to it's sheer uniqueness in IR's discography through a production level, the usage of features, and overall message.

And speaking of features, lemme talk about em. They're all really interesting and provide extra chemistry alongside Ritchie and Groggs. Rico Nasty easily has the best verse on Jawbreaker imo, and the off kilter hook by Pro Teens is also interesting. Peggy brings in the energy for GTFU by screaming "get the fuck up!" on the intro, and Cakes brings an excellent verse that segues nicely into Ritchie's verse(Peggy should've had a full verse though). Aminé brings his best feature to the high octane Jailbreak the Tesla, "my engine go vroom, your engine go-" is so freaking awesome and fits so well into the thematics of the track, and the witty bars he drops about Grimes being the GPS in a Tesla is genuinely really comical. Freddie Gibbs slides over the metallic production on Wax On, dude can probably flow over someone screaming in a well or something lmao. And whilst New Hawaii is probably the least "Injury Reserve" sounding track on the entire record, Tony Velour drops a really pleasant hook on the front end of the track, DRAM's verse in the middle gives Ritchie's verse a beautiful touch, and Dylan fuckin Brady from 100 gecs on the vocoder is absolutely mind-altering.

And yeah, Injury Reserve's self-titled record is just as good as Floss, and with a more experimental, widespread sonic palette and more collaborations, make a beautifully varied debut album with plenty of fun, and plenty of reflection. Exsquisite.


Koruna & Lime-77

QWERTY Interlude-N/A
Jailbreak the Tesla-92
Gravy n’ Biscuits-87
Rap Song Tutorial-80
Wax On-94
What a Year It’s Been-85

Best Spot in the House-90
New Hawaii-100
Three Man Weave-96

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More Reviews by TurbulenceSSB
Injury Reserve - Floss
Mar 30, 2023
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