And now here’s the biggest surprise to come out of the group New Edition. Ricky Bell, who had been an occasional co-lead singer in New Eeidtion, and Michael Bivens and Ronnie DeVoe, who had primarily been background singers and rappers, formed a trio, and released this album in 1990 on MCA Records, putting out the kind of music that was a 360 degree turn from anything New Edition had done before. Enlisting a group of producers such as Carl Bourelly, D’Lavance, Dr. Freeze, Timmy Gatling, Hiriam Hicks, Eric “Vietnam” Sadler, Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee, Alton “Wokie” Stewart and the duo known as Wolf & Epic, to give their own take on the “New Jack Swing” movement, with music they called “Hip-Hop smoothed out on the R&B tip, with a Pop appeal to it.”
Only two songS on this album sound close to being a New Edition song, the ballads I DO NEED YOU and WHEN WILL I SEE YOU SMILE AGAIN (which was the fourth single released from this album). Both of which feature Ricky singing lead. The other singles were DOPE! , BBD (I THOUGHT IT WAS ME), and the title track POISON, which had everyone singing “Never trust a big butt and a smile”
The other three new songs on the album were LET ME KNOW SOMETHIN’, AIN’T NUTHIN’ CHANGED, and RONNIE, BOBBY, RICKY, MIKE, RALPH AND JOHNNY (WORD TO THE MUTHA), all which heavily feature Ronnie and Michael rapping, with beats designed to keep you on the dance floor. Rounding out the album is a remixed version of Poison. It’s really great stuff, pretty influential for the time, with many other R&B and Rap acts attempting to duplicate this sound.