The Word

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With their full-length debut, The Word, Numbs explodes out of the starting gate and doesn't bother looking back. Springing from the unlikely source of Prove, UT, these four hip-hop-acolytes come on with restless energy and plenty of charm. Irreverent, though respectful, and frenetic, though precise, The Word takes all the elements of hip-hop -- the beats, the rhymes, the scratching, and even the attitude -- and turns them into something quite different. The thick, bottom-heavy sound, courtesy of DJ Shanty and Rick One, is bolstered by live instrumentation and off-kilter sound effects. The trio of MCs switch off on the mic, taking turns fighting through the murky mix. While all three are capable, it's the music that stands out here; it's an aggressive, hypnotic collage, expansive enough to cover the shrill air-raid sirens of "On the Run," the sly, loping melodies of "Road Rage," and plenty of ground in between.