Ladies, y’all won’t like me after this column.
A few days ago, I was roaming around these Internet streetz, and I stumbled across an old photo of Another Bad Creation, the hip-hop flavored R&B group that made prepubescent girls shriek like maniacs at the mere mention of their name.
Chance are, ladies, if you were a pre-teen in the early 90s, you had crushes on these guys.
Well, ladies, take a look at the objects of your affection:
THAT’S what y’all found attractive in 1991? Airbrushed overalls and Breathe Right strips? Clearly Idris Elba has been doing it wrong all this time.
But despite their (very) poor fashion choices, there was a time when ABC was on top of the R&B world. Let’s travel back and reminisce.
Michael Bivins will go down as one of the shrewdest businessmen in the music industry. After New Edition broke up in the late ’80s, Bivins wasted no time forming Bell Biv DeVoe and riding the New Jack Swing wave to success. But he didn’t stop there – he went on to discover other R&B acts, including the group of kids known as Another Bad Creation.
The group consisted of Romell “RoRo” Chapman; Chris Sellers; David Shelton; and brothers Demetrius (“Red”) and Marliss (“Mark”) Pugh. According to Wikipedia, Adrian “G.A.,” or “General Austin,” Witcher also served as an unofficial member. Sorta like Cappadonna in Wu-Tang Clan, I guess. I don’t remember that guy at all, but who am I to question Wikipedia?
What I do remember is the group’s 1991 debut album, Coolin’ at the Playground Ya Know! Even as an immature Ninja Turtle watching, Ecto-Cooler drinking preteen, I HATED that album title. You can also tell it’s the early 90s because the 2-foot tall children are all wearing their big brothers’ coats and hats. They look like a bunch of thug Paddington Bears.
But let me be cool at the playground. I can’t hate on ABC’s success – both “Iesha” and “Playground” were MONSTER hits in middle school hallways. Every girl named “Iesha” (and I know quite a few) all thought the boys were singing directly to them. And while the pitiful lyricism on “Playground” makes Lil Twist sound like Twista, it was mighty infectious. Both singles cracked the R&B top 10 and pushed the album to platinum status.
“My World” and “Spydermann” received airplay as well, but by far my favorite was ABC’s cover of New Edition’s “Jealous Girl.” Of course, the song is painfully corny by 2014 standards but it’s funny to hear guys whining about girls 20 years before Drake made a career out of it.
ABC became media darlings by the end of 1991 and they were EVERYWHERE – magazine covers, TV shows, even movies:
Robert Townsend is the most normal looking person in that picture.
Proving that infantile music beefs isn’t just a 21st century fad, ABC even had a ridiculous beef with fellow hip-hop dwarfs Kris Kross. At the beginning of the original version of Kris Kross’ “Jump,” a song that still goes SUPER HARD today, Mac Daddy said: “don’t try to compare us to another bad little fad.” Them’s fighting words. Of course it lead nowhere.
ABC dominated pop culture from 1991-1992. By 1993, when their sophomore album was released, the bloom had fallen off the rose. Overexposure killed them out of the gate.
ABC went two for two with ridiculous album titles with It Ain’t What U Wear, It’s How U Play It. Someone please explain what that means. And while you’re at it, please explain why Biv made those dudes dress like Native American strippers. The singles “I Don’t Wanna Be Grown Up” and “Where’s Ya Little Sista” – neither of which were written by R. Kelly, I promise – didn’t made the charts. The album was a dud and the group soon departed ways.
BUT WAIT: If you blinked, you probably missed ABC’s quiet reunion in 2006, The Grady Baby Compilation EP, featuring tracks from past members of the group. As you probably guessed, it didn’t get much attention.
Just to prove that ABC has stepped up their wardrobe, here’s the most recent pic I’ve found of the group, which I believe was taken in the MySpace era, circa 2009:
Finally, a throwback pic they don’t have to be ashamed of. And check out this YouTube vid. The guys seem to be doing pretty well for themselves these days. Good for them.
Should They Come Back?: I dug around online but, besides vague promises of new music from individual members, I couldn’t confirm that the group is eyeing a comeback. And that’s OK. I wouldn’t be opposed to the guys trying their hands at solo projects – they’re industry veterans, after all. But ABC as a unit was definitely a product of the times. Leave the airbrushed overalls in 1991.
UPDATE to the UPDATE: The previously posted vid? Nah, that wasn’t them, it was a parody. Thankfully. It’s been removed.