First Listen: Tony, Toni, Tone's Elijah Baker and Park Avenue take a thoughtful "Ride"

Photo courtesy of Elijah Baker

(October 26, 2020) Elijah Baker, Jr. may not have had it all, but it would be understandable if someone thought that he did. Baker is a founding member of the legendary R&B group Tony, Toni, Tone. He played the bass and served as the choreographer for one of the groups that helped define the 90s sound that fused R&B, soul, funk and hip-hop. Baker had it all and then he lost it all after spending four years in prison in 2008 following his conviction for a white-collar crime, but Baker made use of the time that he spent behind bars. He wrote music and he observed what was happening to his fellow inmates. He saw those men lose wives and girlfriends and the toll that those losses took on them.

(October 26, 2020) Elijah Baker, Jr. may not have had it all, but it would be understandable if someone thought that he did. Baker is a founding member of the legendary R&B group Tony, Toni, Tone. He played the bass and served as the choreographer for one of the groups that helped define the 90s sound that fused R&B, soul, funk and hip-hop. Baker had it all and then he lost it all after spending four years in prison in 2008 following his conviction for a white-collar crime, but Baker made use of the time that he spent behind bars. He wrote music and he observed what was happening to his fellow inmates. He saw those men lose wives and girlfriends and the toll that those losses took on them.

It was that experience that inspired the song “Ride” that is featured in this First Listen. “Ride” is a mid-tempo number that fuses funk, blues and great storytelling that will be instantly recognizable to any Tony, Toni, Tone fan. That story takes the form of a conversation taking place between a man on the inside and his loyal wife who is trying to hold it down and resist temptation on the outside. He wants her to remain his ride or die. She’s willing to do so but has a few questions and some things that she feels need to be said. It’s a good song featuring two powerful and distinct voices that work well together. The female vocalist, Erica ‘Silk-E’ Reynolds, is a familiar voice to hip-hop fans. Silk-E was a member of the Oakland based hip-hop group The Coup.  Check out the video by Baker's band Park Avenue here.

By Howard Dukes

Park Avenue - "Ride"

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