Don't Be Cruel is the second studio album by American singer Bobby Brown. It was released in the United States on June 20, 1988 by MCA Records.
The album was far more successful than Brown's debut, peaking at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart and spawning five top 10 Billboard Hot 100 singles, including Brown's only number one, "My Prerogative". It spent a total of six weeks on top of the Billboard 200 and was the best-selling album of 1989 in the United States. The album also reached the top five in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Brown changed producers for this album, and worked extensively with hit-making songwriting and production duo Babyface and L.A. Reid. Alex Henderson of Allmusic writes
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.
All five singles released from the album reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. "Don't Be Cruel" was released as the lead single. The second single, "My Prerogative", earned Brown his first number one on the Billboard Hot 100. "My Prerogative" was also the second-biggest single of 1989, finishing at number two on the Year-End Billboard Hot 100 Singles of 1989. Three of the singles also reached number one on Billboard's Hot R&B Songs chart.
All singles except "Roni" were certified Gold by the RIAA.
Don't Be Cruel debuted at number 74 on the Billboard 200 on July 23, 1988. It wasn't until six months later that the album reached number one, starting a six-week non-consecutive run at number one, from January 21, 1989 – February 4, 1989 and February 18, 1989 – March 4, 1989. Its reign at number one was interrupted for one week by Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction.
The album also spent a total of 11 non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart over the course of 1988 and 1989. It spent an eight-week non-consecutive run at number one from September–November 1988, and then remarkably returned to number one four months later in March 1989.
Don't Be Cruel was the best-selling album of 1989 in the United States, and finished number one on the Billboard Year-End album chart.