Producer Maurice Starr wrote this shortly after seeing the band perform at a talent show. He signed them and had them record this in a small studio in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Starr wrote the song in the style of "ABC" by The Jackson 5. He wanted New Edition to emulate The Jackson 5, and had them perform similar dance moves and vocal harmonies.
Ralph Tresvant sang lead. His voice sounded a lot like a young Michael Jackson, which is the sound they were going for. Tresvant was their lead singer in their early years.
This was New Edition's first hit, and it led to sudden fame and a long and turbulent journey for the band. The band members were between the ages of 13-15 when it was released.
This was the first UK chart topper to include rapping. This style of incorporating little raps in R&B/pop crossover songs caught on over the next several years as groups like TLC, Another Bad Creation and Bell Biv Devoe (a group comprised of former New Edition members) used the technique frequently, often with one member designated as the rapper.
The video for this song was the first that New Edition made. They didn't have a wardrobe budget, so the band is wearing their school clothes in the clip. MTV wasn't playing videos by black artists at the time (for more on this, see "Billie Jean"), but the American network Black Entertainment Television (BET) gave it plenty of airtime, giving New Edition a big boost in the black community.
With Tresvant's sweet lead vocals and the song's candy-coated lyrics, the group was labeled a bubblegum act. "Bubblegum? Yeah, it was in a way," Bobby Brown told Musician. "But I don't think that's a negative term necessarily. The Jacksons were deemed the same thing; the press just gave it to us. We were just being what we were: kids. We might've grown up in a bad neighborhood, but there was still some sweetness there."