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‘I Wanted to be Free of the Bubble Gum S— They Was Putting Out’: Bobby Brown Says He Left New Edition to Go Solo Because He Was Tired of That Type of Music

Bobby Brown recalled his early days as a solo artist on the “Hotboxin'” podcast. The former R&B bad boy shared stories about his influence with Mike Tyson and former NBA star Matt Barnes. Brown confessed he always wanted to be a solo artist but was drawn to form New Edition in 1978.

Bobby, Ronnie DeVoie, Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell, Johnny Gill, and Michael Bivins scored one Grammy nomination during their career. By the late 1980s Brown had embarked on his solo career and later won a Grammy for “Every Little Step.” Over the years, New Edition has continued to reunite on stage at tribute performances and concert tours.

New Edition founder Bobby Brown said he always wanted to be a solo artist. @newedition/Instagram

Barnes asked the “Don’t Be Cruel” artist how it feels returning to stages with the veteran group after reaching solo success. He said, “I was used to being a solo artist. I wanted to be a solo artist getting into this industry. It just so happened that me putting the group together got me to where I needed to be.”

Brown felt he no longer need to be part of a group due to gaining mainstream solo success. He then made a subtle reference to New Edition’s bubblegum pop style of music.

“I wanted to be free of the bubblegum candy sh-t that they was putting out there,” the 53-year-old stated while making air quotes. “I wanted to do what I like to do.”

Tyson chimed in saying, “That’s not how they portrayed you on the show.” He referred to BET’s “The New Edition Story” in 2017, in which Brown agreed, “No, it’s not.”

“Some parts were” true in the miniseries, said Brown, and others were not. “The doing drugs part … I was selling drugs,” he clarified. “I wasn’t doing drugs.”

Brown has previously admitted to his experience with alcohol and substance abuse, whbbh began as an adolescent. Later in the podcast, he recalled mistaking his mother’s cocaine for flour while frying some chicken. The same story was mentioned in his New York Times best-selling book, “Every Little Step: My Story.”

“If you go through the book, there’s a story about when I was younger my mother used to deal. She used to keep the coke in the freezer in a plastic bag, and I thought it was flour,” said the entertainer. “And I didn’t know it was, you know. I was about 8, 9 years old. I called myself, you know, cooking for the family,” he added.

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