By The Time I Get To Phoenix (BTTIGTP) is a project defined by grief. The former Arizona hip hop trio—consisting now only of Parker Corey and Ritchie with a T—wove the late Stepa J. Groggs, their former bandmate, into every theme and instrumental on the record. Whether Injury Reserve is rapping about not knowing how to approach their newfound influence or the pandemic, each track is despondent. The record is a challenging listen with its harsh, industrial, and discordant sound palette. Pop inspired gem “Superman That” and psychedelic R&B track “Postpostpartum” are disorienting at first, but grow increasingly more beautiful with each listen. The dusky atmosphere of “SS San Francisco” is intoxicating. The lead single “Knees” is cathartic and sorrowful with its spacious instrumental and posthumous Groggs feature. Groggs’ verse about his health and wellness struggles is haunting, seeming to forecast his passing.
Post-rap is an emerging genre characterized by the breaking down of hip hop to its most essential components and tropes, and arranging them into a piece that feels both unsettling and familiar. On BTTIGTP, Injury Reserve has accomplished exactly that. As post-rap continues to develop, it is easy to see how this album might be revered as a cornerstone of the genre. Regardless of its potential to inspire subsequent works, By The Time I Get To Phoenix is a haunting, grief-stricken, cathartic, and monumental step forward for for both genre and band.
Photo Credits: Injury Reserve
Lammas is a Commentary Co-editor and a Junior in the College studying Government.