This past Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the release of Bell Biv DeVoe's debut album, Poison, a new jack swing classic if there ever was one. Following the breakup of New Edition, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe formed their own group (while other former members Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, and Ralph Tresvant went on to successful solo careers). BBD's first album, Poison, was an instant hit, going certified platinum in about two months and going quadruple platinum by 1995. The album hit #5 on the Billboard album charts and #1 on the Billboard R&B Album charts. In addition, it spawned three songs that cracked the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, including "Poison" and "Do Me!," both of which got up to #3, and "B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)?," which hit #26.
Although "Do Me!" is my favorite BBD song, I chose to go with "Poison" for the Retro Video of the Week. It was the debut single for the group, and whenever I hear it, I am immediately taken back to 6th and 7th grade, and in particular, Friday Night Live, a social, "keep those damn adolescents off the streets" gathering my junior high had every other Friday night at the school. You could play sports in the gyms, hang out in the cafeteria listening to a DJ spinning the day's hottest tracks, or otherwise interact socially with your peers. "Poison" is one of those songs that most reminds me of Friday Night Live -- and how awkward it was to try to talk to girls as a 13-year-old.
The song is a catchy AIDS-era warning to be careful who you bang ("wrong move, you're dead"). Particularly, you should ask your friends about your prospective lover, as you may come to learn that she is a total schemer. "How do you know?," you'll ask your friend. He'll respond, "Me and the crew used to do her." Well shit, better pass on her, then. Of course, more than anything, this song taught me one of the more important lessons a young man can ever learn: "Never trust a big butt and a smile."