Injury Reserve was originally a trio, consisting of rappers Ritchie With a T and Stepa J. Groggs and producer Parker Corey. Their mixtapes Live From The Dentist (released in 2015) and Floss (2016) earned them underground buzz, and they capitalized on the attention with their debut album in 2019, the eponymous Injury Reserve.
The group’s momentum was put on hold when in June of 2020 Groggs tragically passed away. By the Time I Get to Phoenix was largely completed ahead of Groggs’ passing with his contributions, and will be the first Injury Reserve music to be released since their eponymous debut album. Ritchie and Corey took the past year to complete the record, and the title has meaning past simply referencing Injury Reserve’s hometown. It’s an homage to a song that has been covered countless times, which is in line with Injury Reserve’s ethos and approach when it comes to creating music. The group pulls from several styles and eras of hip hop, but runs each one through the Injury Reserve lens, putting their own distinct and cohesive sound across their references. Nowhere is that dynamic more present than on By the Time I Get to Phoenix.
Billy Woods is a rapper who defies easy categorization; he claims Washington D.C. as his hometown but has spent much of his life in New York City. He was born in the U.S. but spent much of his childhood in Africa and the West Indies, the second child of a Jamaican intellectual and a would-be Marxist revolutionary. On the mic, woods is no less of a conundrum, possessed of versatile flows and an ability to not only tackle topics other artists wouldn’t dream of, but also to bring unique perspectives to the familiar ones.
THEY HATE CHANGE
Dre and Vonne first came together in front of the apartment complex where they both lived as teens. Dre (he/him) had just moved down from Rochester, NY; Vonne (they/them) was trying to sell him bad weed. It was clear from the start that the two listened to music differently from most people—they’re sonic omnivores, obsessive deep-divers, lovers of rare and radical sounds. Starting as kids trawling the internet for tracks, they’ve been collecting music from around the world and across the decades, amassing a shared sonic knowledge so deep that “encyclopedic” barely begins to cover it—not just the East Coast hip-hop that Dre grew up on, or the hyperlocal bass-music variants like jook (the Gulf Coast’s twerkably raunchy answer to house) and crank (think “Miami bass meets NOLA bounce”) that Vonne grew up on, but also drum ‘n’ bass, Chicago footwork, post-punk, prog, grime, krautrock, emo, and basically any genre on the map.
Nukuluk is an experimental hip-hop / electronica collective based in South London. Their chaotic sound draws off a series of eureka moments during studio play, a broad church of influence and a symbiotic relationship within the group. Alien field recordings, warped bass drones and clattering percussion create otherworldly production landscapes, stages on which vocalists Syd and Monika can battle it out.