Blac Rabbit at RSC

Published on October 30th, 2018

Blac Rabbit bt Angel Boyd

The identical twin brothers who founded Blac Rabbit are at first glance outliers. Born and raised in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, Amiri and Rahiem Taylor grew up in a community of hip-hop icons: Notorious B.I.G., Mos Def, Jay-Z, Big Daddy Kane, Talib Kweli, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and many more.

But “Bed-Stuy Do or Die” claims a whole galaxy of greats: Lena Horne, Bobby Fischer, Jackie Gleason, Frank McCourt are just a few notables on an amazingly long roster connected to this 2.8 square miles of outsized culture clout. It’s a reminder that in music, nature and nurture both can be selective: The Taylors had hip-hop in the air — and access to a grandparental record collection rife with pop, funk and soul from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, plus a heavy dose of the Beatles.

Musically, that’s where they wound up, as anyone knows who ever saw them playing Beatles duets in the subway or going viral after an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” From busking they’ve moved on to their band: Blac Rabbit, with a six-song EP of originals out and a debut album due in spring, is a fully realized psychedelic dream.

The Taylors don’t come to it from outside of black music. “It’s important to acknowledge and preserve the contribution African-Americans have made to music in general,” the siblings tell PureHoney in a joint email interview.  “Rock ’n’ roll is kind of seen as a white person thing, but it really wasn’t back in the day.”

So if you start with the early Beatles as a skiffle band into blues and jazz, then fast forward half a century to find Blac Rabbit giving you familiar feels, you’re in a good place. Blac Rabbit is closing the circle of influence.

Not bad for two siblings who quit their grocery store jobs after finishing high school to concentrate on music. Along with “inspiring people that see and hear us,” the Taylors call “showing other bands that you can be successful and stay indie” as one of their prouder accomplishments so far.

Blac Rabbit plays Respectable Street w Heller Floor and Coral Canyons November 4. ~ Abel Folgar

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