“Get Off That (Poison)” is another gem from the V4Visions catalog, an early ’90s U.K. label operating at the intersection of street soul and house. Sung by South London gospel group The Wades, programmed and arranged by production duo The Code, the 1993 track takes the reigning “new jack swing” style of American R&B as its model: silky soul harmonies married to tough hip hop beats, a sound pioneered by Bobby Brown and that other New Edition offshoot Bell Biv Devoe. But where BBD’s big hit “Poison” warned of a seductive but toxic woman, The Wades’ “Get Off That (Poison)” is about the danger of intoxication. It’s an anti-drug message that urges the addict fevering for another fix to give up not-so-cheap highs and seek a higher path.
“Get Off That” comes in “Pulse” and “Jeep” mixes as well as a radio edit and a longer album cut. Stripping out the dovetailed harmonies of the brothers David, Lloyd, Derek, and Denis, a further instrumental version spotlights The Code’s interplay of programmed and hand-played elements: crunching beats and slinky but boombastic bass meet jazzy flourishes of synth and piano.
The Code’s Marvin Williams and Carl Holst-Roness also worked with V4Visions vocalists Rohan Delano and Maureen Mason. Holst-Roness’s pedigree included writing and arrangement for Brit-soul outfit Tongue N Cheek and American R&B singer and Def Jam artist Tashan, as well as drum programming for soul diva Shirley Jones.
Although it was The Code who brought The Wades to the label, V4Visions co-founder Chris Forbes first encountered the group several years earlier when—as a DJ for Capital Radio—he’d been tasked with hand-delivering the station’s award for Best Gospel Act to the brothers. After trekking out to West Acton on the outer fringe of London, he couldn’t find the church where they rehearsed… then heard the distant sound of harmony vocals draped over funky drums leading him in the right direction.
Two years after “Get Off That (Poison)”, The Wades released their debut album A Touch of Heaven through the U.S. based Christian music label Fortress Records. Although they formed their own label FameCity Entertainment in 2000 and released another full-length CD A Family Thing, performing and recording has been sporadic in the last two decades.
- The Wades Get Off That Poison
- The Wades Get Off That Poison (Pulse Remix)
- The Wades Get Off That Poison (Jeep Remix)
- The Wades Get Off That Poison (Instrumental)
- The Wades Get Off That Poison (Radio Edit)