Stepa J. Groggs of Injury Reserve is dead at 32.
The formerly Phoenix-based hip-hop artists shared the news on social media, tweeting “REST IN POWER Jordan Alexander Groggs a loving father, life partner and friend. (6/1/1988-6/29/2020).”
They also shared a link to a GoFundMe page for family support and services. Groggs is survived by Anna Ford, his life partner, and their four children Joey, Jayden, Toph and Ari.
The GoFundMe page says, “Groggs’s heart has touched everyone he has came across. He will live on through his family, supporters, and the communities he was apart of.”
Phoenix rapper Mega Ran retweeted Injury Reserve, adding, “Oh my god. My prayers to y’all.”
Another member of the Phoenix hip-hop scene, Damien Tragedy James, called Injury Reserve an inspiration, saying they were “one of the many acts that showed me it was possible to go bigger than the scene would allow.”
Groggs’ passing touched all corners of the scene.
As local rockers Paper Foxes wrote on Facebook. “Injury Reserve will always be one of the most original and incredible acts out of AZ. This news is shocking and heartbreaking. Our love and support goes out to his friends and family. Jordan was such a cool down to earth and talented guy. This is crazy.”
How Injury Reserve broke out of Phoenix
Formed in 2013, the trio first made a name for themselves with a self-released debut titled “Live From the Dentist Office.”
Released in 2015, the album was named in honor of the fact that the tracks had been recorded in an actual Valley dentist office when producer Parker Corey’s grandpa was done seeing patients.
Anthony Fantano — “the internet’s busiest music nerd,” as he’s been known to call himself — hyped their debut on the Needle Drop as “a really cool modern spin on an old classic” and “one of the most impressive hip-hop debuts I’ve heard.”
The trio – which also featured MC Ritchie With a T – delivered on that promise with an even better second album, “Floss,” before a move to California in early 2017.
As Corey explained the move to the Republic at the time, “We started to hit that ceiling in Phoenix where the people that we needed to be talking to, the people we needed to set up meetings with, the industry, it just was not in Phoenix. And we were starting to maneuver our way through that so we had to be here.”
They ended up landing a deal with Loma Vista Recordings, a label whose roster includes St. Vincent, Iggy Pop and Common, releasing a self-titled album in May of 2019.
The Line of Best Fit raved about the album, writing, “I can’t imagine there will be too many rap albums this year that better Injury Reserve’s debut. This is a band who can achieve the same volatility and straight-up ingenuity of BROCKHAMPTON, on less than a quarter of the manpower.”
Sputnikmusik also loved it, saying it was “as cohesive a hip-hop album as one can hope” and citing Groggs’ and Ritchie’s “growing scepticism with modern hip-hop culture, and a heightened awareness of its pretensions” as one of the reasons for that.
On “Three Man Weave,” the album’s final track, Groggs raps about his childhood dreams of playing hoops when he grew up, apologizing to his uncle for wasting his money on basketball camp. His story has a happy ending, though.
“Then I found somethin’ I was good at,” he raps. “Somethin’ that I believed in.”
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