Although the current trend for R&B seems to favor a more electronic sound, this band is a reminder of a time when it wasn’t uncommon for members of mainstream R&B groups to play most of the instruments on their recordings. Formerly Slick Rick’s backing band, Bad Rabbits can hold their own on the live performance front as well like Mint Condition and Tony Toni Tone before them. In just over 20 minutes, they bring us seven tracks of up-tempo new new jack swing on their first release, the Stick Up Kids EP. It was first released as a free internet download via Karmaloop at the end of 2009, but its sound stands out even more so now that most of the current popular “artists” just use Garageband pre-sets and auto-tune.
With assistance from Jayson Michael, Bad Rabbits produced a catchy disc of funk-pop-R&B fusion with heavy crossover potential. “She’s Bad” presents the desire to engage in reckless flirting and casual hook-ups as playful and suggestive, but not excessively raunchy. Even when he explicitly states that he’d do “whatever it takes” to get this girl naked, it comes off as mischievous and even titillating, but ultimately harmless. “Advantage Me,” with its percussive handclaps and sweeping horns is so upbeat and dance-worthy you don’t even realize it’s a breakup song until many listens later. “Girl I’m Like Damn,” which features a guest appearance from Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, has the feel of a sweat-soaked and sexually charged dance floor circa 1993.
Bad Rabbits songs often sound like the young cousins of 90s pop hits like Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative,” and “Remember The Time” by Michael Jackson. It’s no wonder, then, that Teddy Riley, the producer of the aforementioned songs, is producing their yet-to-be-titled upcoming full-length. Whether they’re singing about hooking up, breaking up, or believing in your dreams, there’s something for everyone here. Even if you usually don’t take kindly to being instructed to shake your ass, you may be inclined to make an exception in this case.