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Injury Reserve’s RiTchie drops debut solo single “RiTchie Valens”

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Back in August, Nathaniel Ritchie and Parker Corey shared their first joint single as By Storm — a moniker derived from “Bye Storm,” the final track on their final album with Jordan “Stepa J” Groggs as Injury Reserve. (By the Time I Get to Phoenix dropped in 2021, a year after Groggs’s passing.) On an episode of The FADER Interview podcast following their relaunch as a duo, Corey and Ritchie referred to the rebrand a “gentle handoff.” Six months later — and a decade since starting with Injury Reserve — Ritchie (stylized RiTchie) has shared his first-ever single as a solo artist.

Titled “RiTchie Valens” in homage to the Chicano rock pioneer, the track is tongue in cheek but stylistically inventive. Read Next: RIP Injury Reserve, long live By Storm After an introduction to the song’s baroque beat and its two central vocal samples — the Auto-Tuned melismas “RiiTchieee” and “Why would you n***as do this to me” — RiTchie launches into a screed against haters and frauds, framed in rhetorical questions followed by the satirically sung refrain, “Let me know.” “This shit like pullin’ teeth / You thinkin’ all that heehee haha’s really gettin’ through to me?” he begins, his voice twisted in a mocking grimace. “N***a that’s news to me / I’m a grown-ass man out here, man, you really think I’m losin’ sleep?” An incisive hook follows the verse, including the killer line, “They screamin’ (“RiiTchieee”) like I’m / Ritchie Valens, yeah that n***a still valid, bro.” Then the verse returns from a bit further back in the mix before fading out eight bars in, letting the beat ride for roughly the same length as it does in the intro.

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