Ricky Bell

Ricky Bell Biography

...And then there was one. After taking a breather from the group New Edition in 1986 and becoming a third entity in the trio Bell, Biv, DeVoe (who formed officially in 1988), Ricky Bell has now hit us with a hugely anticipated solo effort. Both of his former groups gained much success in the R&B music world. Early New Edition hits included "Cool It Now" and "Can You Stand the Rain"; BBD gained popularity with tracks like "Poison" and "Do Me."

BBD (original NE members Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe) exploded onto the early-æ90s music scene with a bad-boy image, (unlike the boy-next-door appeal captured by New Edition). BBDÆs music provided the early listenings of what later became the popularly practiced blending of hip hop and R&B sounds. Strong dance tracks with beats you could easily throw a rhyme on were behind lyrics with sometimes-raunchy yet relevant subject matter. The result was a strong connection with their audience -- and platinum record sales.

"Still I See," BellÆs testament to the weakness for and of the flesh, comes at you with a current û- and fresh -- rhythm, bass and melody. Lyrically, Bell lets us know he hasnÆt lost his proclivity for the booty. But musically, the track is less aggressive than BDDÆs "Poison" or "BBD (I Thought it Was Me)." Perhaps itÆs inevitable that the growth of an individual would lead to the growth of an artist. "Still I See" is more mature than BellÆs previous work. An acoustic guitar gives the up-tempo song a romantic and slightly ballady feel, but the mean bass dropped in may just make you want to do some booty shaking of your own.

Bell turned to BBD producer Richard Wolf to work with the track. He also enlisted old friend and bandmate Ronnie DeVoe to add some stellar MC stylings. "Still I See" has all the makings of a top-play radio single. The melody and memorable hook make it a song that will surely find its own place in todayÆs R&B scene. It also marks the first release in years that features Bell and DeVoe together again.

For all certified R&B fans and casual listeners alike, this track is worth checking out. Ricky Bell is back with a gem thatÆs got us plenty excited about his forthcoming album.

-- Jamila Daniel

Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., Jamila Daniel has written for a variety of publications, including The Source, Essence and One World magazines. Primarily covering music and entertainment, Daniel has also written education and community pieces for The Amsterdam News.

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