The Cast Of “The New Edition Story” Show Their Real Musical Chops During A Freestyle Battle (Video)

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Next week, The New Edition Story, the long-awaited biopic about the collective of Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell and Johnny Gill will premiere. The 6-hour, 3-part mini-series will air on BET on January 24-26, and, by the looks of early footage and reviews, it is going to be special.

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The cast joined the Sway In The Morning Show to promote the project and, during the course of the 30-minute interview, they showcased an enormous amount of talent. Empire’s Bryshere Gray (Hakeem) portrays Biv. Grammy-nominated singer, Luke James takes on the role of Johnny. Actor and singer Algee Smith plays Ralph. Ricky is portrayed by Elijah Kelly, who showed his acting and singing abilities on Hairspray and The Wiz Live! Straight Outta Compton‘s Keith Powers portrays DeVoe, and newcomer Woody McClain takes on the colorful role of Bobby Brown.

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Though the actors are obviously pretending to be members of New Edition in the film, their musical talent is very real. From the onset of the interview, they break into N.E.’s classic “Can You Stand The Rain,” and their harmonies are spot on. At the 15-minute mark, they put their talents on full display. For the next 13 minutes, they conduct a freestyle battle. Many rhymes are off the top and they pepper the rhymes with singing and harmonizing like a group that has been together for years.

Earlier in the interview, Elijah speaks about the fact that members of New Edition were present for what he estimates to be 80% of the filming of the movie. He details shadowing the group in rehearsals in what sounds like an intensive training. From their performance on Sway In The Morning, it is clear they were paying close attention to their mentors.