Injury Reserve, a rap trio from Phoenix who recorded their debut mixtape in a dentist’s office (and titled it Live from the Dentist Office), have had an interesting journey from the suburbs to a coveted “A MINUS” from Robert Christgau, the “Dean of American rock critics,” in his column for Noisey. From playing house shows to being played on Beats 1 Radio by Ebro. How did it all happen? What makes producer Parker Corey (age 21) and rappers Stepa J. Groggs (age 29) and Ritchie With a T (age 22) special?
For Complex, it’s their boundary-pushing, “DIY weirdness.” For Billboard, their fashion sense and fearless honesty. Pigeons and Planes admires their group dynamic, calling them “one of the best new groups in hip-hop,” while Mass Appeal nods to their cinematic vision. Anthony Fantano’s interest in their ability to balance tradition with innovation is well-documented on the Needle Drop, where he published 8/10 reviews of Live from the Dentist Office and last year’s Floss. The latter, a major breakthrough for the group with features from Cakes da Killa and Vic Mensa, is energetic, refined, and in Christgau’s words, “the most unpretentious hip-hop you ever heard.”
While they do like to keep a low profile, often straining to appear unaffected by the attention, the reality is that a lot has changed lately in the lives of Corey, Groggs, and Ritchie. They moved their studio from the Phoenix dental office where Corey’s grandfather practices to a house in Altadena, California, and upon arrival recorded seven of the most aggressively forward-thinking tracks in their catalog, provocative as it already is. Drive It Like It's Stolen, the groups newest project, plays contrasting and sometimes contradictory signs of emotional tone against one another in the same style as, but more concisely and perhaps successfully than, Floss.