Bell Biv Devoe’s songs are coming back for the first time in 15 years with the release of Three Stripes. For fans of classic 90s R&B, this could be a great thing.
Ricky Bell, Michael “Biv” Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe made music history back in 1990 with their smash hit album Poison, from which the title track and “Do Me” made their rise to commercial fame. Although such songs might be considered not so politically correct these days, they had a level of innocence about them which drew a wide audience before hip hop basically almost vanished under the umbrella of gangsta rap.
Bell Biv Devoe’s music was a mellow twist on rap, adding harmonized vocals to a crisp beat, showing that they’d grown up since their origins with New Edition. Other previous members of the classic group included Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, and Ralph Tresvant, who all took their own direction after branching off.
Bobby Brown is arguably the most famous member of New Edition, and he was once known for his controversial behavior on and off stage. He has calmed down since then, though the media will not likely forget his tumultuous relationship with “I Will Always Love You” singer Whitney Houston.
Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant faded over time, having maybe a couple of hits each before their fame vanished.
Originally known collectively as New Edition, they started out as a black boy band much like the Jackson Five, churning out hits like “Candy Girl,” “If it Isn’t Love,” and “Mr. Telephone Man.” Aimed at young teenage girls, their sound was very melodic, fun, and often focused on young relationships.
Since branching off, Bell Biv Devoe had introduced new groups known as the “east coast family,” as mentioned in “Motownphilly.” The track was from Boyz II Men’s Cooleyhighharmony, a much more grown up and sometimes a cappella direction for the group. ABC, which was short for Another Bad Creation, was almost a call-back to the roots of Bell Biv Devoe, introducing another group of young boys. ABC’s musical rivalry with the more rap-heavy Kriss Kross showed on the track “All These Wanna Bes.”
Much of this history of New Edition and their rise to fame and hard lessons has been revealed in BET’s The New Edition Story. It focuses on how a group of young stars dealt with their fame and the reality of the music industry, as well as how their parents dealt with it. As expected with teenagers, they often clashed with their mothers and mistreated them. Variety says the mini-series ended on a high note, meaning that just like Hidden Figures, it could go down as one of the best black project releases of 2017.
It’s unknown if they might do a follow-up mini-series about the Boyz II Men and Another Bad Creation days.
Produced by the original members of New Edition, it’s clear that they came together to tell their story and reveal the highs and lows of celebrities in the music industry. Likely spurred by the pending success of The New Edition Story, Bell Biv Devoe has been hard at work in the studio once more.
Knox News Sentinel says Three Stripes brings back much of BBD’s original sound, from the playful “Find a Way” to the aggressive “I’m Betta.” They also add the nostalgia performing collaborations with groups of their heyday. Teaming up once more with Boyz II Men, they croon out an R&B hit with “One More Try.” Then they teamed up with fellow 90s singing sensation Sisters With Voices, and made “Finally.”
Bell Biv Devoe’s latest album could be a new beginning, showing that after 15 years on hiatus, they still have the skills to pay the bills.
[Featured Image by Randy Miramontez/Shutterstock]