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INJURY RESERVE Drive It Like It’s Stolen gets 8.5/10

Injury Reserve
Drive It Like It’s Stolen
Las Fuegas

8.5/10

Hailing from the not at all on the hip hop map city of Phoenix, Arizona, Injury Reserve have released a killer alternative hip hop EP.

After two mixtapes, Injury Reserve come out hard on Drive It Like It’s Stolen, reminding of fellow left field artists, Shabazz Palaces and recent returnees The Cool Kids (thanks to Steppa J. Groggs sounding very Chuck Inglish-y).

The EP is predominantly 90s golden era flows over deep kick drums and hazed out, laid back vibes, with a few notable exceptions. Boom (X3) is a hard hitting hardcore track that gets the head nodding with attitude. The song gets pumped with its big, shout out, tough as fuck chorus, whilst dissing old white men and old, hip hop heads in the verses.

Second track See You Sweat is looking to be my late night summer jam. Bouncy, jungle sounding beats, police sirens, and a super catchy chorus, the song is begging to be played loud with a bunch of dancing people in a dark room, despite the protagonists asking us to “keep the lights on”. It’s a banger.

Colors is a slow burning, lament on racial inequality with an industrial backbeat and clever wordplay with colours: “But I’ve been blue since Sandra Bland was murdered in jail/And we know black and browns ain’t living as well/All things ain’t pink brah/The grass gets greener”. It couples well with the melancholy North Pole beforehand, featuring an imagined phone call between Ritchie with a T and one of his fallen friends. The tracks showcase the depth of Injury Reserve’s raps.

Following these two downbeat joints, the EP exits with the uplifting Chin Up (outro), Ritchie and Steppa trading empowering bars over a rolling beat. The track and the EP fades out to their conclusions. At under 25 minutes the EP had me wanting more. Perhaps it’s only fault, if you could call it that? A stunning EP from a group that’s criminally been flying under the radar.

NEIL SOLACE

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