"Hip hop is style and style is hip hop."
Amidst an industry teeming with flash, glamour and glory, Arizona rap trio Injury Reserve defines their sound as “blue collar” rap — no over-the-top declarations of wealth nor recounts of violence and bloodshed. From their 2015 debut project, Live From the Dentist Office (which was actually recorded in the dental office of the band producer’s grandfather), to their most recent project, Floss (2016), an “I’m just like you” narrative consistently emerges from their music. “We bring this average guy narrative,” Ritchie With a T, one of the band’s frontmen, says. “But we’re also not trying to preach that gangster rap is bad. It’s just not our reality, so we can’t talk about something we don’t do. We’re always into honesty.”
That honesty has helped Injury Reserve, consisting of Ritchie, 22, rapper Stepa J Groggs, 29, and producer Parker Corey, 21, coast the unfamiliar seas of their first performances with unapologetic bravado. With the help of their manager, Nick Herbert (whose face serves as Live From the Dentist Office’s cover shot), Injury Reserve began playing at punk house shows at Arizona State University, successfully building an unexpected fan base. The trio stood out like a sore thumb at those shows, even with their quirky, indie edge. “There were no rappers,” Ritchie explains. “It was all punk and indie bands, so we had to prove ourselves as the only rap act.”