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


RiTchie. Photo by Patrick Driscoll.


 

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.

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. Despite its many moving parts, “RiTchie Valens” wraps up neatly with five seconds to spare before the two-and-a-half-minute mark, retaining a satisfying sense of symmetry.

Watch RiTchie’s self-directed “RiTchie Valens” video (shot by Corey) and stream the song on its own below.