Hoodwinked- [Injury Reserve]

For years, Injury Reserve has been making waves by their own rules within the Rap community. They take a step back and look at what most people might consider to be the boundaries of Rap, then they proceed to completely shatter those borders that typical fans place on the genre.  This is most likely the main reason why they’ve gained recognition and risen through the ranks of the industry, gaining looks from some of the biggest forces within the business. They’re clearly not going to conform to whatever cookie cutter borders people place on Rap, and that has led to one of the most unusual yet appealing sounds in all of music. If you don’t believe me, just take a listen to their 2019 self-titled debut album and it’ll all make sense.

Moving forward with their sound, their most recent offering comes in the form of yet another off the wall song called “Hoodwinked”. The beat consists of a saxophone loop that comes off almost as if it’s shrieking at you, paired with speaker busting 808s. In fact, nothing about this production is characteristic of typical Rap music other than possibly the percussion, which still sounds unlike the rest of the industry. The three Rappers take turns bringing completely different styles to the table. Beginning with a very belligerent flow, the words spoken are done so in a stuttering fashion to add emphasis to the emotion in the lyrics. In the blink of an eye, the flow is slowed down as impactful bars are spit nonchalantly over this wild instrumental. To add even more nuance to the already insane track, it is rounded out by yelling and heavy breathing to make sure that if you didn’t get the message, you surely can’t miss it now.

Just when you think you hear a beat that no one should thrive on or even be comfortable on, Injury Reserve feels right at home. This definitely isn’t going to be a song that appeals to everyone, and that’s okay. The trio has built a strong fanbase over the past half-decade or so, and they’ve done this knowing that not everyone is going to welcome their disruptive, over the top sound with open arms. This goes back to my original point of them not wanting or trying to conform to anyone’s preconceived notions of what Rap music needs to sound like, so they’ll continue to move forward playing by their own rules. “Hoodwinked” is the perfect example of how Injury Reserve pushes the envelope, so check it out below.

Words by Danny Adams