The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Like Drinking Poison, Like Eating Glass



If the magic of Youtube had been around when I was in the 5th grade, there's simply no way in which this would've occured.

Flashback to 1991.

A Young Passion of the Weiss: "Mom, can I please call the Box to order two music videos. They only cost $1.99?"

Mother Weiss: "Fine...just this once and don't tell your father. "

For we all know that if my father had seen $1.99 bill that resulted from my burning need to order two music videos from the now-defunct Box music channel, he would've hit the roof and demanded that I pay him back from my Hanukkah savings. This would've undoubtedly meant that I wouldn't have gotten to purchase Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" on tape that same year and my life would've been irrevocably changed. Well, maybe that's a bit extreme, but I really liked that tape when I was 11.

So for the rest of that afternoon, I sat and watched hour after hour of music videos waiting for my picks to air. Alas they never did and therefore I never had the privilege of getting to see Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison" and "Do Me," music videos, a tragedy that ranks somewhere between that of the Hindenberg disaster and not double-checking that my Strokes press tickets
were for Friday night rather than Thursday (oh yeah, by the way don't ask about my friday night unless you want to hear a lot of cursing).

Ian has a theory that I tend to agree with in that if you scratch the surface of any 20-something hip-hop fan, underneath there's someone who can talk endlessly about early 90s R&B. And out of all early 90s R&B, nothing was more appealing to my young ears than Bell Biv Devoe. While I definitely was a major fan of Portrait, En Vogue, Bobby Brown, Boyz II Men, Father MC, Another Bad Creation and Wreckx N-Effect, no new Jack Swing group found more love in my heart than the crew of Michael Bivens, Ricky Bell and Ronnie Devoe.

Their debut album, "Poison," was a huge smash, and it seemed like the super-group formed from the ashes of New Edition was going to have a long and impressive career. And it wasn't just BBD, Bobby Brown was blowing up before he decided to become a wanton crackhead and even Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill were forging viable solo careers. Hell, even Tresvant posters made the wall of a young Ashley Banks on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, though they were certainly not prized as much as her Tevin Campbell ones. The members of new edition seemed poised to own the Clinton years.

Yes, BBD was truly on top of the world in the early 90s, as their debut went triple platinum and endeared itself to the musical collection of a young Passion. Hell, I even went so far to buy the remix album W.B.B.D.BootCity:The Remixes, which even my limited musical knowledge knew was terrible. But it didn't matter, I still breathlessly awaited their follow-up. And then two years later, it finally arrived, as I rushed to purchase their latest opus. 1993' "Hootie Mack," only for it to end up making my list of worst musical purchases ever (along with Young Murda Squad's "How We Livin", Run DMC's "Down With the King," LL Cool J's, "14 Shots to the Dome," and Kris Kross' "Da Bomb"). I was crushed.

After the disaster that was "Hootie Mack," BBD quickly faded from the scene, as did the New Jack Swing sound that they helped popularize. Soon after, I outgrew R&B music, either due to its inepititude or the fact that I had outgrown the genre. Either way, "Poison" is still one helluva song and one great album. And just check out the video, with its absurd early 90s fashion. People love to rag on how bad people dressed during the 80s, but the Saved By the Bell/Cross Colours/MC Hammer-esque neon palette of 1991 is still my pick for worst fashion trend of the millenium this side of Uggs and Muk-luks.

I mean just check out BBD in their matching outfits that make them look like dancing piano keys, or how about Michael Bivens rocking bright orange pants tucked into a pair of black boots. And check out Devoe's high-top fade, making him the most ultimate wearer of the high-top fade in 1991 other than Kid of Kid N' Play. Not to mention, the man had some serious dance moves. Who knew that in 2006, he'd be a real estate agent in Atlanta? (at least according to Wikipedia).

And then there are the moral lessons that BBD taught us.
1: Never trust a big butt and a smile.
2: Use precaution before you step to meet a fly girl
3: Never sleep with a woman who had previously been known to "do" your friends and your crew.

These were important things that every young Jewish suburban child needed to know and who better to teach it than the prophets of BBD.

Not to mention the logical questions that they posed via song, i.e. how did Bivens manage to get himself stuck on top of the basketball hoop in the Poison video. A stepladder? A crane? One could deliberate this for hours.

So check out this slice of 1991, re-live some nostalgia, see some of the worst fashion ensembles ever put together and remember, "Their Music is Mental."

11 Comments:

At 6:36 PM, Anonymous dan said...

I will take it a step further and say that any 20 something music fan at all can talk for hours about early 90s R & B. I enjoy my share of hip-hop and rap, but I am a much bigger fan of pitchfork approved indie rock and Bell Biv Devoe's harmonizing acapella still haunts my dreams.

 
At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

About two years ago, i was enjoying a cocktail and a trendy LA hotspot (which fulfilled all of my trendy lifestyle needs), when Micheal Bivins himself tried to pick me up. It was quite amusing, especially because his wingman kept reminding me that Biv was "a HUGE,HUGE Celebrity."
Disapointed by the fact that they were not wearing matching outfits that looked like piano keys, nor did any of them have a high top fade, i had no choice but to turn him down.
It was kind of amazing, but not as amazing as the time Todd Bridges hit on me and tried to pretend that he wasn't Todd Bridges.

 
At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

About two years ago, i was enjoying a cocktail and a trendy LA hotspot (which fulfilled all of my trendy lifestyle needs), when Micheal Bivins himself tried to pick me up. It was quite amusing, especially because his wingman kept reminding me that Biv was "a HUGE,HUGE Celebrity."
Disapointed by the fact that they were not wearing matching outfits that looked like piano keys, nor did any of them have a high top fade, i had no choice but to turn him down.
It was kind of amazing, but not as amazing as the time Todd Bridges hit on me and tried to pretend that he wasn't Todd Bridges.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

I'm actually curious to what the Pitchforkers would've said about BBD. For the most part, I confess to taking my indie musical cues from P-Fork, but with hip-hop you never know whether or not they're actually right on. This has led to several head-scratching ocassions (see the Clipse, L'il Wayne, Chamillionaire)

And to anonymous, you're lucky that it was Todd Bridges hitting on you from Diff'rent Strokes. It could've been worse if you had to get hit on by someone from the Strokes' cast and crew. It could've been Gary Coleman or Conraid "Mr Drummond" Bain, or the worst possible scenario of all, Diff'rent Strokes scribe/Crash hack Paul Haggis.

 
At 1:00 AM, Blogger Nate said...

"Never trust a big butt and a smile"...Has there ever been anything more profound? I love "Poison", because it makes even the lamest dude on the planet want to do the running man. When I was on myspace, it was my profile song for a bit, and let's just say I got more love then I'd ever gotten before. Even more than when I posted photos of myself dressed up as Tyronne Biggums for Halloween. Back in the days of poison, I had a high top fade that was just spectacular. Damn I miss those days!

 
At 2:23 AM, Anonymous uggher said...

Uggs may be ugly, but man, they are comfortable. Sorta like winter birkenstocks -- they aren't socially acceptable anymore, but they just feel so damn good.

 
At 12:46 PM, Blogger Joey said...

The Box was my shit as a youth. I used to watch "Pop That Coochie" on it with my dad nearly every morning before school. I feel like that video was #1 on the top ten for about 3 years in a row, and yet no one who I knew had heard the song. I always assumed that the station was wildly popular in Florida where, I was left to conclude, a lot of people had a lot of money to dispose of on an overpriced music video channel. It was a glorious station, though.

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

Yeah, pop that coochie was a huge on the box. God, i seriously used to watch the Box for hours and hours. I distinctly recall being with like 3 friends in the 7th grade waiting for Sir Mix A Lot's Put Em on the Glass to come on. That one was also understandably huge. Not much of a song, but what a video.

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger Nate said...

It's poison, don't be cruel, it's my perogative to what I gotta do, have a little sensitivity. Do Me Baby, I want rub you the right way so whatcha gotta say? Oh no she's a candy girl livin in a half crazy world and that's the way we livin girl. See every little step I take is another N.E. Heartbreak...my, my, my

 
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