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Numbers: Phoenix Hip-Hoppers Explain "Attack of the Robots"

Numbers is an Arizona hip-hop duo, comprised of producer Izzy and rapper I.P.. The duo's recent EP, Nerds Getting Paper: Attack of the Robots, released in May, indeed finds the group "getting paper," but the "nerds" part seems a bit self-deprecating. The album features guest spots from Mr. Miranda and other guests, and Izzy doesn't come across as all that much like a nerd -- instead, he sounds like a perfectly cocky frontman, referencing Haile Selassie on "Ain't Like Us," while stating that he has a way with words like a dictionary.

Izzy's production is impressive, too. "All About the Money" is my favorite beat on the record, but both members of Numbers are all about opener/title-track "Attack of the Robots," which finds I.P. tearing up the AZ rap scene ("fuck AZ rappers") and making a particularly clever "sex-meets-religion" joke. Numbers spoke with Up on the Sun about the track, explaining their stance on AZ hip-hop, and bringing it for their sophomore release.

@izzyneutron: "Attack of the Robots", the first track off of our EP, is really about capturing full attention. Generally looked over, our band is trying to show AZ hip-hop --and the world, for that matter--exactly who we are. Our talent is not here for the short term. The skit at the beginning tries to convey this. We're in it for the long haul. Music is our life. We're just trying to make it our living. As our sophomore release, we needed to come out with a bang. With this song, I'm really trying to establish my identity as a serious producer: one that can manipulate any sort of sound, conventional or not, and make good music. This is why I chose 808s as the drums behind the sample and --in my opinion-- a relatively commercial rhythm. Too many people try to sound like something else, but sometimes you have to play that field-with a spin. You have to purposely and consciously do it, and for the purposes of the listener, you have to be relatable. Once you're relatable, then you can guide the listener through the rest of the album.

Relatively new to hip hop, I'm a bit amazed how small this world is in Arizona. In general, hip-hop needs a savior. Too much lyrically washed up music is sold as "the standard" and shoved down our throats through the radio and television. We need more people to embrace lyricism and culture. This also applies to Arizona. Although there is AMAZING lyrical talent out here, there are others that are relying on beats to save them. Hip-hop is about "dope beats" and "dope rhymes". Both are equally important. We continuously need new and interesting perspectives about life to be conveyed in music. Otherwise, it becomes a gimmick, and unfortunately, this has become the norm. "Attack of the Robots" attacks exactly just that.

@Numbers I.P.: The song "Attack of the Robots" is most definitely my favorite song on the Nerds Getting Paper EP. It's basically a full on attack on the industry and the basis of the EP. When Izzy sent me the beat I knew exactly what to do with it, the beat was extremely dope and gave the perfect feel for an intro track and a hook wasn't needed. The beat has a lot of intensity; I knew I had to match that intensity with my lyrics. I think these were by far my best verses on the EP in terms of just pure lyricism and flow. The second verse Is my favorite of the two, the rhyme schemes and flows I pulled off were some of the best I've ever done on a song before.

My "fuck AZ rappers" line was basically a shot at all the hate I've gotten from the scene since I've been making music in Arizona. Just saying, 'I really don't need these other rappers approval or their cosign to say that I'm dope.' You get "hollywooded" a lot in the Arizona scene by rappers who think they are bigger than they actually are, and don't have the press or anything to prove it. I think if an abundance of these rappers humbled themselves and just made real good music and learned the business, our scene would thrive more as a whole. My Japan line was maybe too early -- but to me that is the rawness of hip hop and the punchline played on all the people predicting that the earthquake had to do with the return of God and Biblical predictions. The song plays great in the car and is a great start to what I think is excellent EP.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.