Picks and Pans Review: Hootie Mack

updated 07/19/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/19/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Bell Biv DeVoe

A brilliant debut is often the hardest act to follow—even if, in the case of this singing, rapping threesome from Boston, the brilliance was limited to four songs on their 1990 debut, Poison. But those songs—"Poison," "Do Me!" "Dope!" and "B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)?"—were astonishingly sensual landmarks in the confluence of rap and R&B.

After several delays and a return to the studio early this year, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe have finally delivered a middling album. Mostly slack-tempoed and smug, it celebrates dope smoking ("Nickel") and derrieres ("Ghetto Booty") and coins such winking postmodern pickup lines as "So, Aunt Jemima, let me butter your pancakes." Fine—it's not as if Poison was any less lascivious. But those songs were aural ecstasies. From Hootie Mack, only two tunes approach that level: "From the Back," with its twisting, almost Arabic beat, and "Above the Rim," a jangling, jostling sass—saluting hoops at the Jordan level—in which the title phrase becomes both a challenge to pretenders and a refreshing metaphor for any kind of living large. (MCA)

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