After a temporary closing of doors for 1980's R&B act New Edition, Bell, Bivins, and DeVoe went on to form Bell Biv Devoe, at the suggestion of producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Upon accepting the idea, MCA records wrote down the name Bell Bivins Devoe, but Bivins suggested they remove the ins
from his name and just call the group Bell Biv Devoe. With help from Public Enemy producers Eric Sadler, Hank and Keith Shocklee, and several others, Bell Biv Devoe released its debut album Poison
in 1990, on MCA Records. The album was credited as pioneering the "New Jack Swing" sound of the early 1990s, combining hip-hop, funk, soul, and pop music. This fusion of styles helped to expose them to a fan base who prefer a harder edge sound, while at the same time helped pave the way for future R&B acts. Poison
reached number 1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and its title track, along with its second single, "Do Me!", both reached number 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Shortly thereafter, Richard Wolf and Epic Mazur were responsible for the remix of "Do Me!" (which hit Number One on the dance charts). Poison
also spawned other significant hits which include "B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)?" "When Will I See You Smile Again?" and "She's Dope!" Poison
sold over three million copies, and was followed up by a remix album titled WBBD-Bootcity
. Richard Wolf and Epic Mazur helped create BBD's premiere album, blending rhythm, blues, pop, and rock, and Poison achieve triple Platinum success.Bell Biv Devoe went on to release Hootie Mack
in 1993, on MCA Records, and the more hardcore rap/R&B influenced BBD
in 2001, on Biv 10 Records. Neither album was as successful as Poison
. Despite the fact that their last album was released in 2001, the members of Bell Biv Devoe continue to perform together as a group. They also participated in several New Edition reunions, and continue to perform with them on occasion. On May 30, 2013, Bell Biv DeVoe performed their hit song "Poison" for Boston Strong, a benefit concert to raise money for victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing.
Awards and nominations
The timing of Bell Biv DeVoe's accolades corresponds directly with the release of their first album Poison
. In 1991, they were recognized at the Soul Train Music Awards for Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Album of the Year, Group, Band or Duo.