by Uther Blakwhel
It’s been 16 years since Bell Biv Devoe’s last CD. The release of Three Stripes coincides with the New Edition biopic mini-series that debuted on the B.E.T network this year. Upon looking at the Three Stripes cover art it shows three of the co-founding members of New Edition looking more suave and seasoned on this album cover versus the street look from their previous CD BBD. Bell Biv Devoe also lets you know that they are ready to pick up where they left off from their Poison debut which is evident when you see the return of their sound description quote re-appear on the new record. “Our music is mentally hip-hop smoothed out on the R & B tip with a pop feel appeal to it!” We haven’t seen this quote since Poison. When I saw the return of this accurate description of their sound I was expecting the return of Poison pound for pound. Once I started listening to the new album I was originally disappointed. But after listening to Three Stripes in more detail, I realized that my expectations were too nostalgic and unrealistic. I was too busy focusing on who Bell Biv Devoe was and not who they are now! The new record opens up with a surprising and energetic intro from hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh with “Ready.” It then smoothly glides into “Find A Way” which is a song about making it right with the woman you love and pleading your case for her to give you one more chance.
Ricky sings, “Girl I’ve got a find a way despite all these people” through auto tune which makes his signature vocal sound unrecognizable at first. Ronnie and Mike rap clever and smooth rhymes about their plans to get their queens back in their arms again. The song is catchy and sneaks up on you by the time it’s over.