Don’t call it a comeback or a reunion. New Edition returns, but this time, Roxbury’s finest teamed up with New Kids On The Block for an epic “Battle Of Boston” at the 2021 American Music Awards on Sunday night (Nov. 21).
New Edition has not graced the AMA stage since 1997 when they performed “I’m Still In Love With You” from their 1996 reunion album, Home Again, and won the award for “Favorite Soul/R&B Band, Duo or Group.”
Ahead of the legendary set, VIBE spoke with Bobby Brown and Johnny Gill to get their take on the “battle,” find out the status of their 2022 Vegas residency and tour, and got them to explain why their AMA performance isn’t considered a reunion.
VIBE: Despite not touching the AMA stage since ’97, what advantage do you feel New Edition has over New Kids On The Block for the “Battle Of Boston”?
Johnny Gill: What advantage we think we have? I don’t know. I mean, listen, music is a form of art if you wanna be honest about it. Everybody has a different taste when it comes down to art. What their fans like might be different from what our fans like, but bridging the gap and us coming together—I think from an artistic standpoint—it’s something beautiful. I think people might really enjoy it and we’re longtime friends. We look at it as something long overdue.
Bobby Brown: And it’s not like it’s a Verzuz or anything like that. This is two groups getting together for entertainment’s sake and bringing it to the people. The fans deserve some great entertainment with everything that’s going on these days. Entertainment is something that speaks loud to all of the fans that are out there that have been caught in this pandemic.
How is this reunion different than previous ones?
Johnny: Well, you know it’s so funny, people always say reunion. It’s not. Honestly, New Edition has been New Edition and it’s been all of us here. At the end of the day, we’ve come together, we’ve gone off separately and come back together. And it’s so funny how everyone always calls it a reunion. No, it’s just New Edition coming together. We decided to come together now and join back forces and give our fans something that they’re looking forward to seeing. I mean, it’s gonna be fun and we’re gonna have fun and continue to do what we do and show them why we do what we do and why we are who we are.
How would you define the New Edition brotherhood?
Johnny: Oh, that’s something you can’t even manufacture. That comes from life, living, experiences, ups and downs, and the good and the bad and all of those things rolled up in one that causes us to create and have the type of brotherhood that we have. From many years of being around and being together, you grow together so it’s not something you can manufacture. It’s not something you can even describe. It’s just a connection that you have from just having family and brothers and knowing that we’re brothers. Regardless of what we go through, there’s always that foundation of brotherhood that’s undeniable.
Bobby: We fight hard and we love hard.
What’s the update with your Vegas residency? The tour?
Johnny: It’s coming. We’re just fleshing out the details and we’re tryna make sure we align things with the tour. But it’s coming.
Bobby: And there will be new music. Absolutely.
Respectively, at this year’s American Music Awards, each group performed their hits, “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “Candy Girl,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Step By Step,” “Hangin’ Tough,” and “Can You Stand The Rain?” Collectively, they sang New Edition’s “Is This The End” and closed out the “Battle For Boston” together dancing to New Edition’s “If This Isn’t Love.”
Watch the full “Battle Of Boston” below.