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on June 7, 2003
If you weren't at least a teenager in the late 1980s, then you'll most likely have a hard time believing that Bobby Brown made headlines for his hits and not for his embarrassing run-ins with the law. In retrospect, the success of this former New Edition member wasn't supposed to happen and it surprised all parties involved--even Brown himself. After the flop album "King of Stage," Brown had one more chance to prove himself as a solo artist, and nobody was sure if "Don't Be Cruel" would be a hit. Fortunately for him, it was. It skyrocketed to Number One on the album charts, spawned a string of Top Ten hits, and his onstage dance moves made him a new teen heartthrob. What's more, "Don't Be Cruel" is credited as an album that helped put two things on the map: a) new jack swing and b) LA Reid & Babyface, the production team who did a handful of the material on this album. However, his most familiar single was the Gene Griffin/Teddy Riley-produced "My Prerogative," which is just as slammin' a new jack groove as anything Guy ever recorded. The hits "Every Little Step" (whose original album version is way better than the single remix, in my mind), "Roni," and the ballad "Rock Wicthca" are all bonafide jams that have that late-1980s r&b feel, while the album cut "I'll Be Good to You" also stands out pretty well. "Don't Be Cruel" isn't a perfect album, though. Brown's vocal style is limited and the second half of the album loses a bit of steam. But it's an overall fun r&b record that proves Brown did indeed have a life well before he made headlines as Mr. Whitney Houston.
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on April 7, 2005
Bobby Brown's Don't Be Cruel album may be the reason we still talk about him today. This album matches quite well with his bad boy image and superb artistry that he brings to it. The album opens strongly with two powerhouse funky numbers in Don't Be Cruel and My Prerogative before shifting to two lush ballads in Roni and Rock Wit'cha. Every Little Step continues the funk. The other songs that weren't hits were also good, such as Take It Slow and I Really Love You. And while Britney Spears may have done My Prerogative late last year for her greatest hits album and it's okay, it's no contest to Bobby's more hardcore version! This album is like the prelude to what Usher's Confessions album did in 2004, something that had major crossover success on R&B, pop and dance circles. It really represented the new jack swing trend so very well with its charging beats and rhythms. It was a huge hit all throughout late 1988 and most of 1989. I think that Bobby's recent troubles haven't affected this album one bit. In fact, most people would rather hear Bobby's music than the typical news report on him. Myself included. Though some of Bobby's albums haven't sold as strong as this one, this was him at his highest level. LA and Babyface along with Teddy Riley and others produced a fabulous high class album with Don't Be Cruel. This is like the What's Going on of the late '80s, an album that's had a major effect on music culture and the R&B landscape. It is still a classic record to this day! I hope that Bobby returns back to the top soon!
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on March 16, 2000
When Bobby Brown released this cd in June of 1988, just one week after his former group New Edition released their Heartbreak cd with his replacement member Johnny Gill, few expected it to even offer competition to the NE disc. 18 months later, at the close of 1989, the Don't Be Cruel had sold 7 million copies, spent weeks at #1 on the pop chart, yielded Brown 6 top 10 pop hits, including the #1 smash "My Prerogative," and most signifigantly ended up as the year's top r&band pop album. He was, and has been, one of only 3 black males to do so (M.Jackson & Lionel Ritchie being the other two.) Brown then was considered the king of r&b and was one of the first artists to bridge r&b with rap. Hard to believe it's been 10 yrs since Brown's heyday and even harder to believe that from those lofty heights then he is regarded as nothing more than a punchline now. Still, Don't Be Cruel remains required listening for any current r&b male star, Sisqo included, so as not to forget who trailblazed it. Kudos to wife Whitney, who reminded the world of Brown's contributions to hip hop,pop, and r&b. Bobby, rest assured, this is one fan who has not forgotten! Long live the king!
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on February 11, 2004
I don't remember what it was earlier this year ( prolly the radio ) talking about old Bobby Brown was about to drop again and how it would be better than `Don't Be Cruel'. I bust out laughing...I thought `Impossible...preposterous, ludicrous!" After all, this album was THE JOINT when it dropped. I don't care what anyone said if you didn't have this album you were an outsider, a joke, the laughing stock. IF you didn't know "Don't Be Cruel" by heart, forget about having friends.
"Ohoh, girl
As long as I've been givin' my love to you
You should be givin' me your love, too
But you just keep on actin' just like a fool
You know it ain't cool
Don't Be Cruel...cause I would never be that cruel to you...
Don't Be Cruel...girl you need to change your attitude!"
You know you had your little childhood relationship battles...I know you did. That was the jam...it was undeniable. `Roni' was equally the jam.
"My heart belongs to tenderoni ( she's my only love!)
She's My Only Love ( My Heart)
The truth about Roni, she's a sweet ol' girl
About the sweetest little girl in the whole wild world
She'll make the toughest homeboy fall deep in love
Said once you had a Roni you will never give her up
She's a special kind of girl that makes her daddy feel proud
You know the kinda girl that stands out in crowds
Found a tender roni and the Roni is so right
I think I'm gonna love her for the rest of my life"
WHAT!? Known by heart by many. And those were just the semi-jams. Don't forget about `My Prerogative', `Rock Witcha' and `Every Little Step'. Straight up JAMMIN. Funky, movin, grooving, and straight up smoove. The Hip Hop and R&B was PERFECTLY blended here and never since has it been surpassed...maybe equalized but not surpassed. Definitely (in my mind) the opal of the New Jack swing era. Bobby Brown - Don't Be Cruel...a MUST HAVE.
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on March 5, 2013
This is a one album wonder for Mr.Brown! While the dust was still clearing from the New Edition breakup this dude slipped into the new jack swing era with this amazing album. The world got to see the talent that was hidden from us. If you went to ANY party, club or jam in the early 90's this album was your soundtrack.
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on January 24, 2015
Called the bad boy of R&B for a reason...and that reason is creating bad albums and songs, and like Run DMC said, not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good. Oh, let me go play Roni right now. And isn't Roni so much better than today's terminology: Bae and Thot? Bobby was a bad man, badder than Micheal.
~~Montage is author of The Women of Sugar Hill & Duggan, as well as producer of the upcoming documentary, Street Life: Changing Faces
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on September 11, 2013
B. Brown delivers a stomping CD thanks to his great team of producers and songwriters, including L.A. and Face, Gene Griffin, and Larry White. My favorite records are "Roni", "Rock Wit'cha", "I'll Be Good To You", and "All Day All Night". A great example of R&B done right, with just the right amount of songs on the CD. I could do without Brown's rapping but I recommend this CD to R&B lovers and anyone who is in love with a woman!
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on November 24, 1999
The world forgot about, or is it "chose to disregard"?, Bobby Brown. Didn't he, like, release a new album like a year or two ago? Judging from the previous couple of reviews, maybe once-popular Bobby Brown's tidal wave of hits have subsided into ol' school ditties. But notwithstanding, the man was the best thing to hit the R&B scene since manufactured bread. Way before late '90s fad-conformists were reformulating and rehashing each other's styles. With hits such as "Don't Be Cruel" (which I still like), "My Prerogative" (quite controversial), "Roni" (an anthem for women), "Rock Wit'cha" (a slow number), and "Every Little Step" (a bubblegum N.E. retreat), I wonder why he's had such run-ins with the law and such a terrible wrap from a great proportion of this country's population. But if you like pop/R&B, or if you were an avid N.E. fan, you should get "Don't Be Cruel," which broke Bobby into popularity (and failed to redeem him from current ridicule) . Preserve the memory of good music's past, for yours & former N.E. teenybopper's 1st soloist's sake.
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on August 26, 1999
The "Don't Be Cruel" album was my first exposure to Bobby Brown as New Edition were virtually unknown in Australia.I liked the single "Every Little Step" when it first came out so I bought this album on the strength of that single and I wasn't dissapointed. Perhaps Bobby should look into having Babyface as a songwriter for some of the tracks on any future projects.His two most recent albums have been rather dissapointing (bar a few tracks on "Bobby") for a man of his talents.
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on August 6, 2005
You've heard of a one hit wonder, where an artist has one hit and then disappears. Well this is a one hit album. This album is amazing and brings back a lot of memories. At the time I thought he was going to be the next Michael Jackson. Little did I know that that would be his shining moment, besides marrying Whitney Houston. This is one of those albums where every song is a hit. It's too bad his career never got back up to these heights.
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