Over a year after their first album, New Edition were a million-selling pop act by the time of this release. They had also gone through a nasty court battle with their former mentor and producer Maurice Starr. Around the time of the making of this album, the group and Starr argued over monetary earnings that the group felt that had been given to them and then taken away by Starr, who has to this day steadfastly denied taking the boys' earnings from them. The dispute came after the group members received their checks in their mailboxes only to discover that they were only given $1.87 despite the success of their debut album, Candy Girl and their accompanying US tour. Angered, New Edition filed a lawsuit against Starr and demanded out of their contract. Starr relented and gave the boys the freedom to leave. The bitter split eventually led to Starr's creating "the white New Edition": New Kids on the Block. Meanwhile, the boys left Starr's label Streetwise Records and signed a new contract with MCA. Being given a bevy of producers including R&B mainstay Ray Parker, Jr. and writer-producer Mike Sembello of "Maniac" fame among them, the group released their self-titled second album in the summer of 1984 to huge success.
Thanks to more thorough promotion, and music tailored for more of a mainstream audience, New Edition won new fans upon the release of this album. The lead off singles: “Cool It Now” and “Mr. Telephone Man” both became top twenty pop hits, and also hit number one on the R&B singles chart. The album peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop album chart. It later spawned another top forty pop hit, the ballad “Lost in Love” and subsequent modest hits “Kinda Girls We Like” (which was written by the group themselves), and the uptempo top forty R&B single, “My Secret (Didja Gitit Yet?)”. New Edition eventually was certified double-platinum—making New Edition the most acclaimed teen pop attraction of the middle 1980s. This album was also promoted under a more clean-cut pop image for the group, much different from the streetwise persona they had during their first album, a marketing decision that various group members would later admit that they weren’t thrilled about at the time.