SummaryWhen Bobby Brown left New Edition at the peak of their fame in 1986 he was staying true to his rules of "really not giving a damn" and doing what felt right to him. And while his solo debut King of Stage (1986) wasn't bad, it wasn't what fans were really yearning for - "Hopefully he just goes back to New Edition" one fan wrote in a 1987 issue of Word Up! Magazine. Little did we all know by the time King of Stage was dying down he was already hard at work on the follow up, Don't Be Cruel, and no one was even prepared for what was coming.
Don't Be Cruel immediately was a smash hit, to any naysayers this was the punch in the face, to NE fans this was a game changer, and honestly to many this was their first time even hearing him. Don't Be Cruel crafted the perfect match of amazing songwriting and the newly christened New Jack Swing sound that was flooding the streets. Bobby Brown proved why he was "good to go solo" as he owned each track on this album. The new 'King of R&B" was here. The albums singles: "Don't Be Cruel", "My Perogative", "Every Little Step" & "Roni" all were number 1 singles. "Rock Wit'cha" made all other R&B ballads at the time pale in comparison. The album was one of the best selling albums of the 80's (33 to be exact). Don't Be Cruel over-exceeded what any R&B fan would expect. The albums producers L.A Reid, Babyface and Teddy Riley all did outstanding work channeling the right mix for Brown to finally take center stage. And after 20 + years this album still has a strong hold as the R&B blueprint for making hit albums.