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Hootie Mack

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This mother lode of sexy, groove-heavy cuts helps Bell Biv DeVoe — whose 1990 debut album, ”Poison,” established the three former New Edition lads as the fresh princes of new jack swing — steer well clear of the dreaded sophomore slump. Hootie Mack is sharp, cool, and, at times, stunningly mature. BBD never use sampling or other slick studio gimmickry to fake the funk. Best is the smooth, spare soulfulness of ”Show Me the Way,” which sketches a shattering social vision of liquor and guns reminiscent of Marvin Gaye’s ”What’s Going On.” The only steps back are the album’s nasty-as-they-wanna-be lyrics. Yo, BBD, lighten up with the naughty talk — nobody doubts your credentials.

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