Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ron DeVoe, better known as BBD a.k.a. BELL BIV DeVOE are bridging the gap between hip-hop and R&B like never before on their self-titled fourth album.
With BELL BIV DeVOE, their maiden recording for Biv 10/Universal, BBD announce the return of one of hip-hop, R&B and Pop’s most influential and respected acts. Yet rather than coasting on well earned rep, BELL BIV DeVOE have made a record that the guys consider their strongest. As you might expect, their self-titled album is fierce, nasty, bumping and righteously rhythmic: brimming with rump shaking beats and laced with smoothed-out harmonies. With tracks that move from the club to the street to the sheets, BELL BIV DeVOE is a record that Bivins describes as “vocally on point, musically innovative and lyrically in tune with what’s going on right now.”
That BBD sound is evident on the single, “Da Hot Sh*t (Aiight).” The red-hot jeep banger, co-written by BBD and produced by Rockwilder, contains some salacious and sexed up thoughts about the ladies. “The track is just incredible,” Bivins exclaims. “Rock is just a real cool guy and I think the overall feel and the way we deliver you get an energy that is just not out there right now.”
Also on board are long-time friend Heavy D, who along with Tony Dofat, brings the delicious “Breezy.” “We were all at the same studio and we played Heavy some tracks and a half hour later he called us into his studio and played us “Breezy,” Bell recalls. “The next day we went in and wrote lyrics and I have to say the song is one of my favorites.”
Another favorite and another hot collaboration is “In My Crib.” A precautionary tale about women acting in a devious way, “In My Crib” was produced by the Casey brothers (Jagged Edge) and features vocals from Ralph Tresvant. “On each record we try to do a song that has something to do with our other group, New Edition,” DeVoe says. “This time we have the pleasure of getting our boy Ralph on the song, which makes ‘In My Crib’ even more special. Working with the Casey’s was great, cause they told us they always admired us and that made the atmosphere really friendly and relaxed. It was like working with old friends.”
Bringing together old friends like Ralph and Heavy and new ones like Rockwilder and Jagged Edge was part of the motivation behind BBD: namely to bridge BBD’s past, present and future. To not only reintroduce the guys but to introduce their trademark sound to a whole new group of fans. “There is a younger generation who might not be totally aware of us,” Bell admits, “and so we wanted to make a record that would appeal to them and at the same time not alienate our long time fans. And we did that by just sticking to what we always do. Making music that we relate to.”
Bivins adds, “We live the life we sing about. We stay in the mix and we’re tight on what’s going on today as well as solidifying our own sound. The whole record has been really fun to make because it has been a challenge.”
An offshoot of the hugely popular 80’s vocal group New Edition, BBD fused hip-hop beats, b-boy attitude and R&B harmonies. The result was 1990’s explosive debut album, Poison, which would go on to sell over 4 million copies and spawn the platinum title cut, the Top 3 single, “Do Me!” and the popular “BBD (I Thought It Was Me)” and “When Will I See You Smile Again?.” In 1991, the group followed up their debut with WBBD-Bootcity (Remix Album). The remix album sold over 700,000 units. In 1993, BBD released the gold-certified Hootie Mack, which contained the hit ballad “Something In Your Eyes.” In 1996, the group participated in the New Edition reunion that resulted in the multi-platinum Home Again.
BBD is back and they are stronger than ever before. Since their early days with New Edition they have sold over 20 million albums and won over millions of fans around the world. BBD has been nominated for numerous Grammy’s, claimed three American Music Awards, two Soul Train Awards, received keys to cities across the country and have been honored for their humanitarian efforts. Their extraordinary accomplishments have set them apart from their peers.
Asked if they are nervous about getting back into the mix DeVoe laughs, “No, we’re anxious to return because we have such a hunger and desire to perform.” Fans can expect powerfully high intense live performances the group is known for.
“To be honest,” Bivins says, “I really like who we are now- both as individuals and as a group. I might be biased, but this CD is my favorite. I can’t stop playing it!”
And neither will you.