Personnel: Bell Biv DeVoe (vocals, background vocals); Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell, Ronnie DeVoe (vocals); Jean-Paul Bourelly (guitar); Howard Hirsch, Timmy Gatling (keyboards, drum programming); Carl Bourelly (keyboards); Chris Floberg, Sherman Foote (programming); Alton "Wokie" Stewart (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Dan Wood; Dr. Freeze ; Jamey Staub; Jay Henry; Kirk Yano; Nick Sansano ; Ricky Bell; Rod Hui; Ronnie DeVoe ; Bell Biv DeVoe.
Audio Remixers: Peter Arata; Hank Shocklee; Louis Silas, Jr.; Bell Biv DeVoe.
Recording information: Echo Sound, Los Angeles, CA; Greene Street Recording Studios, New York, NY; M'Bila Recording Studio; Tobin's Studio, Nor.
Editor: Christopher Shaw .
Photographer: Angelica Chaplin.
Arrangers: Roney Hooks; Carl Bourelly; Hank Shocklee.
With so many faceless, sound-alike albums having come out of the "new jack swing" hybrid in the late '80s and early to mid-'90s, it's important to give credit to the form's more creative and imaginative figures. Along with Guy and Bobby Brown, Bell Biv DeVoe (a New Edition spin-off trio comprised of Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe) delivered some of new jack swing's most worthwhile material. A hard-edged, tough-minded blend of R&B/funk and hip-hop, Poison was (like Brown's Don't Be Cruel) a radical departure from the Jackson 5-influenced "bubblegum soul" New Edition was originally known for. Defined by their urgency, rawness, and vitality, "Poison," "B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)?," "Dope!," and "Do Me!" are considered new jack swing classics and are indeed among the best the style has to offer. Taking a break from the CD's overall aggression, BBD moves closer to New Edition's sound with the decent, though far from outstanding, ballads "When Will I See You Again?" and "I Do Need You." While other "new jacks" were content to simply emulate Guy, the distinctive BBD deserves applause for daring to stake out its own territory. ~ Alex Henderson