BREAKING DOWN INJURY RESERVE’S “JAWBREAKER”

BY STEPHEN ADDANTE

The average hip-hop fan likely has never heard of Injury Reserve, however, they have built a decent following among the underground hip-hop community over the last few years. The group is a trio consisting of Stepa J. Groggs, Ritchie With a T, and producer Parker Corey. Much of their music is categorized as jazz rap or simply alternative, and their most recent two mixtapes Live from the Dentist Office (2015) and Floss (2016) garnered critical acclaim, most notably from internet music critic Anthony Fantano (otherwise known as The Needle Drop).

In preparation for their debut album expected this year, the song "Jawbreaker" featuring Pro Teens and Rico Nasty was released along with its accompanying music video on January 23rd. The song addresses streetwear culture and the growing fashion trends within the hip-hop industry. If you've been paying attention to hip-hop at all the last few years, you will have definitely noticed the increasing amount of emphasis placed on designer brands and other expensive 'drip'. Several rappers (especially newer/younger artists) are constantly bragging and boasting about owning pieces from brands such as Supreme, Louis Vuitton, Off-White, Gucci, and Burberry, among others, throughout their songs. While bragging about money has been something that has been apart of rap for a long time, the desire to spend it on designer clothes or shoes has never been as big as it is today.

Ritchie With a T in the “Jawbreaker” video

Ritchie With a T in the “Jawbreaker” video

The "Jawbreaker" music video emulates a fashion show with models wearing designer/hyped clothing (including Supreme, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Off-White, Vlone and BAPE) walking up and down the runway. Ritchie With a T is featured on the runway critiquing the models and the overall idea of consumerism throughout his verse. One line that really stands out is his reference to designer/model Ian Connor who has been accused several times of rape by multiple women. Despite being called out, even Connor himself gave some praise to the video.

So today, Ian Connor doesn't happen to have anything on top of his head
But he does happen to have the Supreme Playboy collab jacket on
And we're just gonna go ahead and skip to the bottom
'Cause can you guys notice that he does have the Rape 3000's on
And those are gonna cost you 'bout 450 dollars deadstock

Ritchie also calls out the lack of creativity in today's fashion trends, pointing to people "dressing off the mannequin" and constantly wearing black coloured clothing. Stepa also chimes in as a spectator at the fashion show, claiming that "we all know someone who blown their whole rent on some Off-White".

This speaks to much of hypebeast and sneaker culture where people (often young people) will blow their whole paycheck to buy the latest pieces from these brands. The products are often only available for short periods of time (sometimes gone within 5 minutes), and thus people are forced to act quick or suffer the consequences and have to pay the resell price later on. This has been seen most evident throughout sneaker culture where limited releases such as Yeezy's or Off-White/Nike collabs have amounted to shoes being re-sold for over $1000.

via StockX

via StockX

Rico Nasty also gives a verse discussing a lot of the same ideas, claiming that despite being able to purchase expensive or hyped products, she'd much rather express herself in her own ways.

I do what I want, not whatever gets the likes up
They don't like my outfit but they like the outcome
You never seen these shoes, well, that's the reason I bought them
They copy my swag, you can see that I taught them
Fresh to death, I belong in a coffin

Injury Reserve are not the first ones to touch on this subject, as several other rappers have discussed this idea in the past. However, "Jawbreaker" dedicates its entirety to this conversation regarding hypebeast culture and why a lot of it is flat out ridiculous.