Tony! Toni! Tone! is an R&B and Soul group from Oakland, California. Their earlier music incorporates elements of new jack swing, a derivative of R&B/Soul that had a strong presence in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The group was actively together from 1988-1997. Tony! Toni! Tone! released four studio albums in that time frame. These include “Who?” (1988), “The Revival” (1990), “Sons of Soul” (1993) and “House of Music” (1996).
Their first album, called “Who?” had a very strong theme of new jack swing. All of the songs were comprised of upbeat boom bap beats and very lighthearted, non-consequential lyrics that basically encompassed every new jack swing song. “Little Walter” was a commercially successful song that arose from this album. One song from the album that broke the new jack swing theme was “Pain,” a song that chronicles relationship problems. It was much slower and not as lighthearted.
Their third album “Sons of Soul” had a lot of high energy soul songs, and was widely acclaimed by critics.
Their best work, in my opinion, is on their last album, “House of Music.” In this album, new jack swing was completely removed, and they had a pure R&B/Soul sound. Due to much more relaxed beats, this album is chill from beginning to end. The guitar is utilized much more in this album, which gives it a different feel as well. Some good songs from their album are “Wild Child” and “Let Me Know.” My favorite song is “Thinking of You.” All of these have a seriously chill vibe.
Tony! Toni! Tone! is a highly talented group that put out great music in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. Each of their albums evoke different vibes, so you can listen to them for any occasion. They undoubtedly embody the vocal skill and chillness of soul.