ASU 365 Community Union concert series to feature Vic Mensa, Injury Reserve

Rap trio Injury Reserve returns to Tempe amid international attention to join Vic Mensa in spring concert

Injury Reserve has made their mark on the Tempe music scene and around the world. Later this month, the rap trio are revisiting their roots for a hometown show at Sun Devil Stadium

The group will be special guests to rapper Vic Mensa on Feb. 22 for the first in a series of concerts planned for this season at the Coca-Cola Sun Deck within the stadium. 

The Vic Mensa and Injury Reserve show is hosted by the ASU 365 Community Union, a recent project that may create even more opportunities for local musicians. The ASU 365 vision is to reinvent the stadium for a variety of uses in addition to football. 

Victor Hamburger, senior director of ASU 365 Community Union, said that aside from being one of the best football facilities in the country, the stadium also has a rich history in the arts that the University wants to rekindle. 

“We have such a diverse community here. Let’s find ways to put their passions in our stadium,” Hamburger said. 

He said that they have made significant progress and are expecting to increase utilization of the stadium dramatically in 2019.

Taylor Horton, a senior at ASU majoring in communications, is a programming assistant for ASU 365 Community Union. 

“I don’t think we’re really trying to get a brand, we’re just trying to involve as many things as possible,” Horton said. 

In choosing the artists, Horton said the aim was to book musicians that represent community values, such as Vic Mensa, who has recently advocated to help homeless people in his hometown of Chicago. 

Tyler Clark, a senior interdisciplinary studies major and president of the ASU Arts, Music and Poetry Club, said he first saw Injury Reserve perform on Hayden Lawn and watched them play around town at house shows and local venues for years.

Injury Reserve recently signed a record deal and moved to Los Angeles, but their impression on Tempe is still prevalent. 

Clark said that although the Phoenix music scene isn't as established as some bigger cities, there are still opportunities for artists in the Valley, noting how Injury Reserve has headlined a North American tour and collaborated with bigger artists like Vic Mensa and Aminé since their start in Tempe.

“I think it really does help show people that you can start your careers in a city like Tempe or Phoenix, and truly grow to that global level without selling out,” Clark said. 

Jerimiah Griffin, a sophomore majoring in filmmaking, is a local musician who has been following Injury Reserve for the past few years. Griffin – who goes by the stage name Lonely Leonard – is a member of another up-and-coming Tempe-based rap trio called Room 4.

Read More: SP Sessions: Room 4 hypes up the newsroom with their original raps

“Seeing someone who kind of ate from the same bowl as you blow up and do it really well is always inspirational,” Griffin said. 

He said Injury Reserve’s use of live instruments in their shows influenced Room 4, who now has a similar approach in their performances. 

“They really helped us step up our game," he said. "We were like, oh our live set can be more than just cookie cutter, what everybody else does."

Griffin said that while there is an abundance of rappers all around Tempe, the local rap scene could still “use a little jolt.”  

Tickets to see Vic Mensa and Injury Reserve can be purchased by students at a discounted rate through the ASU Mobile app


Reach the reporter at mswhitey@asu.edu or follow @MarissaWhitey on Twitter. 

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