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Released: June 20, 1988

Rating: 4.025 (average of 14 ratings)

Genre: R&B/pop

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Cruel Prelude
  2. Don’t Be Cruel
  3. My Prerogative
  4. Roni
  5. Rock Wit’cha
  6. Every Little Step
  7. I’ll Be Good to You
  8. Take It Slow
  9. All Day All Night
  10. I Really Love You Girl
  11. Cruel Reprise


sales in U.S. only 7 million
sales in U.K. only - estimated 600,000
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 7.6 million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 1 6
peak on U.K. album chart 3

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Don’t Be Cruel (5/28/88) #8 US, #13 UK, #1 RB. Sales: ½ million
  • My Prerogative (8/27/88) #1 US, #6 UK, #1 RB. Sales: ½ million
  • Roni (11/26/88) #3 US, #21 UK, #2 RB
  • Every Little Step (3/4/89) #3 US, #6 UK, #1 RB. Sales: ½ million
  • Rock Wit’cha (8/26/89) #6a US, #33 UK, #3 RB. Sales: ½ million


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. Billboard Magazine’s Album of the Year

Don’t Be Cruel
Bobby Brown
Don’t Be Cruel was to Bobby Brown what Control was to Janet Jackson – a tougher, more aggressive project that shed his ‘bubblegum’ image altogether and brought him to a new artistic and commercial plateau. With My Prerogative and the title song, Brown became a leader of new jack swing – a forceful, high-tech blend of traditional soul singing and rap/hip-hop that’s also associated with Guy and Brown’s New Edition colleagues, Bell Biv DeVoe. Brown had been a strong advocate of rap since his days with New Edition, and on Cruel, he did even more rapping than before. But for all the tough-mindedness he exhibited on his new jack hits, the charismatic Bostonian hadn’t lost his love of sentimental, old-fashioned R&B romanticism – and he definitely excels in that area on his hits Every Little Step, Roni, and Rock Wit’cha” (Henderson).

“Much of Cruel was produced by the ubiquitous production/songwriting duo L.A. Reid and Babyface, who’ve often been accused (and rightly so) of taking a formulaic, cookie-cutter approach to R&B. But here, their work is never less than inspired” (Henderson).

Review Source(s):

Last updated March 25, 2008.