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Album: CooleyhighharmonyReleased: 1991Charted:
In the US, this was Boyz II Men's first single. It confused DJs for a few reasons: many didn't know how to pronounce the band name, and some thought the song was called Boyz II Men and the group was named Motownphilly, since the words "Boyz II Men" are in the lyrics and the chorus states, "Motownphilly back again."
The song tells of the group's dreams and how they were discovered - backstage at a New Edition concert where they met Michael Bivens, who was a former member of New Edition and was part of Bell Biv DeVoe, who were a very popular group at the time. Boyz II Men sang him an a cappella version of their song "Can You Stand the Rain
," and Bivens, who was an aspiring record producer, got them signed to Motown Records. Bivens shows up on this song doing a rap interlude about the experience.
The lyrics talk about the "East Coast Family." "ABC" is the group Another Bad Creation and "BBD" is Bell Biv Devoe. ABC and BBD weren't around a few years later, but Boyz II Men were wildly successful. (thanks, Andy - Arlington, VA)
The title implies that Boyz II Men were bringing the Motown sound to Philadelphia. Motown is a legendary record label from Detroit featuring black artists.
Boyz II Men became known for slow, harmonizing ballads, but this is a fast song that is not typical of their sound.
This was produced by the Philadelphia-born, Atlanta-based producer Dallas Austin, who co-wrote the track with Michael Bivens and Boyz II Men's Nathan Morris and Shawn Stockman. Austin also worked with Bell Biv DeVoe and would go on to write and produce for TLC.
The music video has the guys dancing and performing around Philadelphia sites, like a Temple University dorm room and in front of Geno's Steaks. Questlove, of the Philadelphia hip-hop group The Roots, makes a cameo appearance.