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Injury Reserve, 'Knees'

Injury Reserve was starting to get its due when one of its emcees, Stepa J. Groggs, died in June 2020 at the age of 32. Moved both by the loss of a founding member and a desire to return to their experimental roots, the rap group's new track from By the Time I Get to Phoenix (out Sept. 15) feels like a musical left turn. Produced by Injury Reserve's Parker Corey, "Knees" meditates upon a tonal Black Midi sample, and when coupled with the free-flowing lethargic flow of both Groggs and Ritchie With a T, it makes for a truly haunting track that I find myself returning to almost compulsorily, like a too-vivid nightmare. Sonically, it's nothing like anything I've heard before, and is beautifully paired with a simple, yet powerful video highlighting the void the group finds themselves post-Groggs. "Please, is there any way I could grow, please?" Ritchie begs. If "Knees" is any indication for their musical growth, they're already there in front of our very eyes.

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Reanna Cruz
Reanna Cruz is a news assistant for NPR Music's Alt.Latino.