Sons of Soul - Background

Background

Inspired by live instrumentation, turntablism, and classic soul music, Tony! Toni! Toné! mostly produced their second album The Revival themselves and released it in 1990 to commercial success. It broadened the group's exposure to fans beyond their R&B audience. However, they became ambivalent about their newfound mainstream success and their music being labelled "retro" by critics. In an interview for People magazine, lead singer and bassist Raphael Wiggins expressed his dissatisfaction with the industry, saying that "every record company wants to get a group and put 'em in a Benz with a car phone and a beeper, show them dressing in three different outfits, put them in a video shot on a beach with lots of swinging bikinis. You won't ever see us on a beach. We're just down-to-earth, funky, like-to-play guys." Before considering a follow-up album, the group recorded several songs for film soundtracks, including "Me and You" for Boyz n the Hood (1991), "House Party (I Don't Know What You Come to Do)" for House Party 2 (1991), and "Waiting on You" for Poetic Justice (1993).

Having fulfilled their creative intentions with The Revival, Tony! Toni! Toné! wanted to pay homage to their musical influences with Sons of Soul. In a 1993 interview for The New York Times, Wiggins elaborated on their direction for the album, stating "We're paying homage to a lot of older artists who paved the way for us artists like the Temptations, Sly and the Family Stone, Earth, Wind and Fire. They're the people who inspired us when we were growing up, people like Aretha Franklin, James Brown. We feel we're the sons of everything and all those people who came before us." He also explained the album's title as a declaration of them being descendants of those artists, "not in a grandiose sense, but from the standpoint that we really are the musical offspring of all that's come before us ... paying homage to our past, but creating in a contemporary environment."

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