It’s been fifteen years since Bell Biv Devoe last graced us with their unique brand of music that’s mentally hip-hop, smoothed out on the R&B tip, with a pop feel appeal to it (and more than a quarter-century since Poison, their first album and biggest success). But as of Monday, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe are back, with some brand new new jack swing: “Run.” The R&B vocals and tight backing harmonies that made the former New Edition members’ spin-off-group famous are still in full effect, but the song’s been smoothed out on the hip-hop tip this time, sampling the same Herb Alpert song the Notorious B.I.G. used in “Hypnotize” and interpolating his chorus. “Run” is the first single from Bell Biv Devoe’s upcoming album, Three Stripes =, scheduled for a January 17 release.
Stereogum reports that Lionel C. Martin directed the video for “Run,” which is nearly as notable a return as Bell Biv Devoe’s. In the 1990s, Martin’s work was ubiquitous, including the videos for “Motownphilly,” “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” and “End of the Road” from Boyz II Men, Wreckx-N-Effect’s “Rump Shaker,” SWV’s “Weak,” 2Pac’s “Dear Mama,” and, not incidentally, Bell Biv Devoe’s “Do Me!” and “Poison.” If I were you, I’d take precautions.