If you’ve been longing for Hip-Hop that prompts a visceral reaction within you, Injury Reserve’s second studio album By the Time I Get to Phoenix is exactly what you need to listen to. Injury Reserve has always inhabited an alternative space on the outskirts of rap, but their record is an even more experimental offering from the former trio.
Following the passing of Jordan “Stepa J.” Groggs, however, the creation of By the Time I Get to Phoenix was put on hold, and now, over a year later, the album has finally been released. The ambitious album delivers on Stepa J. Groggs’ desire for Injury Reserve to keep making “weird shit,” but sadly, the late rapper’s voice isn’t featured on many of the project’s 11 tracks.
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On “Footwork in a Forest Fire,” however, Stepa J. stole the show. With a performance that truly encapsulates the COVID-19-related paranoia and police brutality-induced distress of 2020, Stepa J.’s verse perfectly meshes with Parker Corey’s frantic production, and it serves as yet another reminder that the fallen artist will be sorely missed.
Panic in the skies
Panic in the sky
Worse down below
There’s nowhere to go
You better run and hide
Take your ass inside
If you don’t go breathe the air
You might stay alive