The greatest gifts part two: Bootcity

This month we're examining our favorite Christmas gifts of yore. For part one, see here.

One of the greatest Christmas gifts of my awkward youth was received in good ol’ 1991, and was, as I’m sure you guessed, a cassette tape of Bell Biv Devoe’s remix album. The name of the album was “WBBD-Bootcity!: The Remix Album.” To this day, I do not know what the “W” in the title stands for, and I also don’t know what or where Bootcity is. But this was definitely a remix album.

Part of the reason I pushed so hard for this was because one of the songs contained therein was a New Edition reunion track called “Word to the Mutha!” which might be the most 90s thing that ever happened. It’s not everyday you get to hear Bobby Brown jamming and rapping with the crew again, and I needed to have this song forever so I could listen to it over and over again courtesy of an everlasting medium that would never die—a cassette tape.

The challenge was getting word to MY mutha that this was something appropriate for her to buy me in honor of Christ’s birth. Because it most certainly was not. Bell Biv Devoe, you may recall, was still riding high on the coattails of the hit, “Do Me,” which was controversial at the time and somehow manages to sound 10 times more offensive today. Obviously, my pleading won out, and it ended up being the most Bootcity Christmas ever. I took the tape right upstairs, leaving the rest of the family to enjoy their meaningless, non-BBD-related gifts together, and I played “Word to the Mutha!” over and over again in the privacy of my bedroom while pretending to be in the video. Until it was time to go to grandma’s. Holla atcha boy.

Going back 24 years later and examining the track listing, I have to wonder what was going through my mom’s head when she went to The Wiz in East Brunswick to purchase this bad boy. (Speaking of bad boy, New Edition would, years later, sign with Bad Boy, which was the second most 90s thing to ever happen.) My guess is that she blindly found it and bought it, no questions asked, just check it off the list. After all, you don’t want to venture too far into Bootcity if you don’t have to.

But, that said, let’s:

Intro/D.J. Opening

It’s not like you’re going to put out a remix album and NOT have an intro/DJ opening. C’mon. An album of this magnitude needs to be prefaced.

Word to the Mutha! (feat. New Edition)

Damn right featuring New Edition. It’s worth mentioning that Bobby Brown’s rap in the song is just him referencing other Bobby Brown songs. Bobby Brown is the best.

Ain't Nut'in' Changed!

These exclamation points are courtesy of Bell Biv Devoe and not my doing, although they do adequately express the excitement I felt at the time.

B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)? [DJ Mo Grind Time]

This is the DJ Mo Grind Time version. If you’d like to hear the original version, you need to cop the original album, son. I don’t know what to tell you.

Do Me! [Smoothe]

Don’t worry, Mom—this is the smoothe [sic] version. Nothing sounds quite as offensive when it’s being sung with optimal smoothness. This might as well be a wedding song.

I Do Need You

The lack of an exclamation point here indicates, to me, that it’s slow jamz time. Any 90s hip-hip/R&B group worth its salt would always have at least one sensitive slow jam to balance out and blatantly contradict the intense misogyny of literally every other song. The track listings on virtually any 90s R&B album looked something like this:

  1. Freak Me Like That
  2. And Your Sister, Too
  3. Panties on the Floor
  4. Doin’ You on the Down Low
  5. I Want to Love You Monogamously Until Our Eternal Souls Part This World Together
  6. Feel it Real Good (Backdoor Party) feat. MC Schlong
  7. Imma Get You Pregnant on This Cutting Board
Interview/Uhh Ahh

I think this was just an interlude of sex sounds. Merry Christmas?

Let Me Know Something!


She's Dope! [EPOD Mix]

I want to put this track list in a time capsule and witness it being read by the intellectually elite members of a future utopian society.

Do Me! [Mental]

So many years later, I cannot say I remember “Do Me!” the “[Mental]” version. But here’s to hoping it displayed a sense of newfound maturity for the group, and included BBD inviting girls to do them … mentally.

(Quick aside: My favorite line from "Do Me!" is "Girl, what makes you think you can do me?" because I always imagine the girl responding, "Uh, my vagina?")

Poison [London Style]

I’m guessing this is a live performance of “Poison” in London—no doubt on par with Jimi Hendrix’s 1966 performance at the Bag O’Nails nightclub with the likes of McCartney and Lennon—but I’m hoping it’s a studio track of BBD performing “Poison” with British accents. (Never trust a large bum and a smile, that doll is poisoooon)

Unfortunately, this cassette tape did not make it to 2014. And The Wiz, apparently, closed down many years ago. I suppose I could purchase the album online, but I don’t really want to hear it again. It was but a fleeting moment of 90s panache that now only exists for its camp value. That’s what happens, I guess, when you build Bootcity not on rock n’ roll, but on sexual innuendos and smooth R&B that references Swatch watches.

Oh well. For one Christmas in 1991 at least, it had me saying word to my mutha. And that’s really, when you think about it, what Christmas is all about.

A very edited version of this column appears in the 12/11 issue of The Glendale Star and the 12/12 issue of the Peoria Times.


troy said…
Don't wanna get ugly here, but I do wanna be real witcha, B: If you are holding on to an mp3 of Feel it Real Good (Backdoor Party) feat. MC Schlong, and are holding out on me, I'ma be returning my Garlic Tuxedo, feel me?
mkenny59 said…
There seems to be a lot of buzz of late around that track. And believe me, if I had it, I would share it. Word on the street is that MC Schlong owns the copyrights, and you don't even want to KNOW what he's asking for in exchange for re-publishing rights.