“Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe: A True Classic Revisited

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Bell Biv Devoe Poison

I purposely saved this song for last. I couldn’t think of any other that was more deserving of the final spot on this list. Errrrrbody knows “Poison” teens, Moms, Dads, Aunties, Uncles, probably even some toddlers… errbody. When Barack Obama was having his going away special on B.E.T when he was leaving office, Bell Biv Devoe were present, on stage and what were they singing for the President of the United States? Yup, “Poison”. Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie Devoe were on stage singing, “Can’t trust a big butt and a smile” to the leader of the free world and our “Forever First Lady” Michelle Obama and they were all the way here for it! If that ain’t the official stamp of approval from not only Black Culture but American Culture, I don’t know what is.

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BBD, as many of you know was comprised of some of the members of New Edition, but they made it known that they were no longer that cookie cutter pop image that they had portrayed for years with the group. They were now grown azz men, singing grown azz lyrics in grown azz songs. Their first single was titled “Do Me”. They were setting the damn tone for the follow-up single, “Poison”. It had an undeniable New Jack Swing sound that at that time was King. “Poison” was and is the song that not only gets you on the dance floor, but makes you sweat when you’re dancing to it. Why? Because unlike many other songs on this playlist you can’t just give it a two step, you gotta go all out! Like full on running man or the “Kid n’ Play” all out. You can’t bring half azz dance moves for this one.

Ricky Bell will FOREVER be the people’s champ for his part, you know what I’m talking about, “It’s driving me out of my mind, that’s why it’s hard for me to find. Can’t get it out of my head… miss her, kiss her, love her.” And then all hell breaks loose when the chorus drops. That part will always be sung with either eyes closed and hands clenched to fist, or arms outspread wide so everyone in the surrounding area knows just how much you’re feeling it. Whether or not you really have any vocal ability, in that moment you are a singer. All that wholesome New Edition is out the window and you’re an R&B gangster for four minutes and twenty two seconds.

When I hear “Poison” I want to throw on some overalls and leave one strap down. I wanna find the flyest T-shirt with tie-dye screen printing on it and throw it underneath. I’m searching for my Dwayne Wayne flip up shades and making sure my (lack of) big butt and a smile are front and center, so that I can be properly prepared to vibe the way I need to. “Poison” is a feel good, classic that will never go away. It’s the song that’s gonna come on when I’m old and gray and I’m still gonna try and muster up enough strength to get out of my rocking chair and produce more than just a two step. Who knows if I’ll actually be able to do so, but dammit if I don’t try! So shout out to BBD for not only providing us with a certified classic/banger, but for also providing a full on cardio workout for those who participate in it properly.

“Poison” was released in 1990.  It was written and produced by Dr. Freeze.  It still gets played in the club, EVERY SINGLE TIME.


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