BELL BIV DEVOE
“Mentally Hip Hop Smoothed Out On the R&B Tip With a Pop Feel Appeal To It”
Bell Biv DeVoe, consisting of three members from the phenomenal musical group New Edition, Ricardo Bell, Michael Lamont Bivins, and Ronald Boyd DeVoe, Jr., better known as BBD!
It all started at the end of the New Edition Heart Break tour, when Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis sat Ricky, Mike, and Ron down and told them they should really think about doing an album of their own. Well things were put into motion and the rest is platinum history!
BBD went on to release their first album entitled Poison. As well as starting the MENTAL attitude with an all-new vibe, from Mental Wear to Slickster “Shot,” with their different style of dress and talk, mix matched shoes, etc… this mentallity was capitalized on when they put out their own line of clothing called Mental Wear, designed by Starter and BBD.
Mike is quoted as saying that a lot of people were getting into the Mental vibe. Mental being an attitude, with no limitations. Doing what you feel as long as you don’t disrespect anybody.
Their four dancers, Debra, Nikita, Towilla, and Marzella, called Str~~>8 Ahead, were actually recruited at a Los Angeles talent show, in a club named the Paradise. Ironically the girls came in second place at that show.
Ron was the key choreographer for BBD with the help of their four dancers.
There was some controversy with the release of the Poison album in 1990, some radio stations did not want to play that song. But that didn’t stop sells!!!
Mike is quoted as saying, “that it was not to offend, but for enjoyment,” and they brought up subjects other people don’t like to talk about.
Regarding how some viewed BBD’s music, Mike is quoted as saying, “Even though it was a controversial thing with women, some of the women out there who felt that wasn’t them didn’t feel bad about the record because they knew as a person or woman that they weren’t like that, but the ones who were like that they felt exposed.”
BBD played a lot of charity basketball and baseball games giving money back to the community and their home town, Boston, thus showing that they had not forgotten their roots or where they came from. Which is also why they wanted to do the song Word to Tha Mutha, bringing all of their former band members back together. They went on to release a remix album of Poison called Wbbd BootCity! Remix in 1991.
Ron and Ricky worked on a venture called Mental Productions. Ron had plans of putting out his brothers, Roland and Robert, as a group called DeVoe, and also producing their four dancers, Str~~>8 Ahead. Ron also started Private Line Inc. (PLI)
Michael Bivins, who always had an interest in the corporate side of the business, got his chance to put his visions together thanks to his mentor Jheryl Busby.
The "Biv" vision started with Biv Entertainment and went on to become Biv 10 Records which produced an array of artist such as the platinum selling Atlanta group Another Bad Creation, multi-platinum, world wide known Boyz II Men and his newest creation The Biv 10 Pee Wee's. In 1992, Michael released an album on his Biv 10 label entitled "East Coast Family Volume One", which also included other Biv 10 artist like Different, 1010, Tom Boyy, MC Brains, Fruit Punch, Mark Finesse, Tam-Rock and The Whytgize who were signed to Capital Records, among others.
In 1994, Michael went on to put out Subway, a Chicago based quartet and in 1996, Las Vegas female trio 702 hit the scenes. With his brains and dedication to the entertainment industry, Michael will continue to succeed in the business as an artist and business man.
The second release from BBD was actually a single called Gangsta, written and produced by Dr. Freeze, (Elliot Straite), and co-produced by Spyderman, (Ross Sloan), but it was not featured on their second album, Hootie Mack, released in 1993. Because of several reasons, one of which was the cost and also because, “it didn’t fit with the flow of the rest of the album.” But the song was performed on many shows, as well as another song not featured on the album, but performed on shows entitled, Boot Sneaker.
The song Show Me the Way, written by Michael, Ronnie, Anthony Velasquez, and Jay Wright, with the singing part written by Ricky, talks about Black people coming together. Ricky felt that this was a positive song.
One interesting fact that some may not know is that the guys recorded the song Something in Your Eyes in different places, at different times. This sexy ballad featuring Ricky as lead vocalist, was recorded when he flew to Atlanta alone. The rest was mixed and spliced in later.
A memorable moment for Ricky was during the second to last show in North Carolina, at the end of their tour. Things got wild and crazy with food fights and they messed up a hotel and the bill was like $17,000!!
BBD’s performances are well choreographed with dance steps you don’t want to miss, showing that the fellas not only enjoyed singing and rapping, but had tons of fun performing the routines.
Now once again they are working on another album and I’m sure their many fans anxiously await its release!! BBD Keep it coming!!