For those of you who have been keeping an eye on my Instagram page the past few years, you may be aware that I am tangentially connected to a company that has tied itself to the ever-rising wave of streetwear and sneaker culture (and depending on how far we're willing to travel up the ownership chain when playing Six Degrees of Employment, I could make the claim that Eminem and Paul Rosenberg are two of my bosses without being entirely untruthful). I've now reached an age where I'm too old to rock a wildly overpriced Supreme tee (though not too old to turn down a nice pair of J's), but still have a need to stay plugged into the hypebeast-iary, if only to maintain some common ground with my co-workers.
As a result of that I've been keeping an eye on various streetwear forums, and this afternoon the above video from the Arizona-based group Injury Reserve started popping up on them. The song - off of their upcoming, but as-yet-untitled album - is getting attention in part because it calls out Ian Connor, the former stylist for Wiz Khalifa and one-time muse for Kanye's fashion line who has since been accused of several instances of rape. Connor's career has been largely unscathed by the allegations, so the name drop in Injury Reserve's Jawbreaker, however well-deserved, came a bit out of left field. The video itself also calls out the streetwear scene's acceptance of another problematic designer, A$AP Bari and his VLONE line, despite video evidence of sexual assault.
I'm not a huge fan of the beat or the chorus from Rico Nasty on this one, but there was enough in the lyrics from Injury Reserve's members to inspire me to dig further into their backlog. Add this group to my ever-growing late pass, but if it's possible to proclaim yourself a fan of a group after just an afternoon's worth of listening then I've achieved fan status. The group is very much a product of the Twenty Teens, but they show just enough influences from rap groups of the previous decade to not entirely alienate grey(ing) haired listeners like myself; an example would be the Spaceship lyric drop in Jawbreak above, or multiple beat samples and quotes from The Roots found in some of their other songs. Here are a couple of the highlights from some of their older material: