Don't Be Cruel (album)

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Don't Be Cruel
Studio album by Bobby Brown
Released June 20, 1988
Recorded October 1987–April 1988
Genre New jack swing[1]
Length 47:08
Label MCA
Producer L. A. Reid and Babyface, Gene Griffin, Larry White, Gordon Jones
Bobby Brown chronology
King of Stage
Don't Be Cruel
Dance!...Ya Know It!
Singles from Don't Be Cruel
  1. "Don't Be Cruel"
    Released: May 16, 1988
  2. "My Prerogative"
    Released: October 11, 1988
  3. "Roni"
    Released: December 27, 1988
  4. "Every Little Step"
    Released: March 9, 1989
  5. "Rock Wit'cha"
    Released: August 15, 1989
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau B+[3]

Don't Be Cruel is the second album by American R&B singer Bobby Brown, released in 1988 on MCA Records. It includes five hit singles "Don't Be Cruel", "My Prerogative", "Rock Wit'cha", "Roni" and "Every Little Step." "Don't Be Cruel" and "Every Little Step" were both Number 1 R&B Billboard singles. "Roni" and "Rock Wit'cha" peaked at Number 2 and Number 3 respectively, while "My Prerogative" became Brown's highest charting single at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Don't Be Cruel went to Number 1 on both the R&B and Pop charts as an album; it first topped the R&B Albums chart for 11 nonconsecutive weeks starting in 1988, then peaked on the Pop Album chart for six weeks the year after. It was the best-selling album in 1989 on the Billboard Year-End Pop Album Chart and eventually went seven times Platinum. The album is the 33rd best-selling album of the 1980s, with sales already at 5 million copies by September 1989.[4] Don't Be Cruel was the best selling "new jack swing" album at the time until Michael Jackson's 1991 album Dangerous was released. Bobby Brown won the Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1990. Brown followed the release of his album with a 120-date world tour.

"Don't Be Cruel" appeared in popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, playing on fictional new jack swing radio station CSR 103.9. "My Prerogative" was later covered by Britney Spears in 2004 on her Greatest Hits: My Prerogative album, and released as a single.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Cruel Prelude"     0:39
2. "Don't Be Cruel" (#8 U.S.) Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Antonio "L.A." Reid, Daryl Simmons 6:52
3. "My Prerogative" (#1 U.S.) Bobby Brown, Gene Griffin, Teddy Riley 4:51
4. "Roni" (#3 U.S.) Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Darnell Bristol 5:58
5. "Rock Wit'cha" (#7 U.S.) Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Darnell Bristol 4:49
6. "Every Little Step" (#3 U.S.) Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Antonio "L.A." Reid 3:57
7. "I'll Be Good to You"   Bobby Brown, Gene Griffin 4:25
8. "Take It Slow"   Jay Logan, Lee Peters, Larry White 5:22
9. "All Day All Night"   Lee Peters, DeWayne Sweet, Dennis Wadington, Larry White 4:40
10. "I Really Love You Girl"   Bobby Brown, Gordon Jones 5:11
11. "Cruel Reprise"     0:18


Credits adapted from Allmusic.[5]


  • Drums, Percussion: Richard Aguon, Dewayne Sweet, Larry White
  • Drum Programming: Markell Riley
  • Bass: Kirk Crumpler, Larry White
  • Synthesized Bass: Dewayne Sweet, Kirk Crumpler
  • Keyboards: Larry White, Dewayne Sweet, Percy Scott, Teddy Riley, Ben Rayes, Kirk Crumpler
  • Guitars: Larry White, Emilio Conesa
  • Saxophone: Melecio Magdaluyo
  • Finger Snaps: Tommy Brown


  • Producers: Babyface, Bobby Brown, Gene Griffin, Gordon Jones, Larry White
  • Mixing: Larry White, Teddy Riley, Dennis Mitchell, Jon Gass, Michael Denton, Babyface
  • Engineering: Babyface, Michael Denton, Jon Gass, Mitch Gibson, John Guggenheim, Fred Howard, Howard Johnston, K2, Ruben Laxamana, Dennis Mitchell, Mark Slagle, Larry White
  • Mastering: Steve Hall

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1989 The Billboard 200 1

Later Samples[edit]


  1. ^ Eddy, Chuck (March 2011). "Essentials: R&B Rubs Hip-Hop the Right Way and the New Jack Swing Era Is Born". Spin (New York): 84. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ Henderson, Alex (November 1, 2001). "Don't Be Cruel - Bobby Brown: Review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 24, 1989). "Consumer Guide Jan. 24, 1989". The Village Voice (Village Voice Media). Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  4. ^ "POP VIEW; If There's a Nostalgia Boom, The Charts Don't Show It". The New York Times. September 3, 1989. 
  5. ^ "Don't Be Cruel - Bobby Brown". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
Preceded by
Giving You The Best That I Got by Anita Baker
Billboard 200 number-one album
January 21 - February 10, 1989
February 18 - March 10, 1989
Succeeded by
Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson

See also[edit]