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TKA in 1990 (Tony, Kayel, and Angel)
|Origin||New York, New York, United States|
|Years active||1984–1991; 2001–present|
|Labels||Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records|
|Associated acts||George Lamond|
|Members||Louis "Kayel" Sharpe|
TKA is an American Latin freestyle trio that was prominent in the 1980s and early 1990s, mainly in New York City, Chicago, Miami, and California, originally consisting of Tony Ortiz, Louis "Kayel" Sharpe, and "Aby" Cruz, the original lead singer. Due to tension within the group between Kayel and Aby, the latter was later replaced by Angel "Love" Vasquez, which allowed Kayel to assume the lead vocals. The acronym TKA represents their collective initials. Early on, the group's members would state in interviews that the acronym stood for "Total Knowledge in Action," as well. All of TKA's members are of Puerto Rican descent. Many Freestyle fans consider them the kings of that genre.
Hailing from New York City, TKA was discovered when they sang at a sweet sixteen party in an East Harlem church in 1984. Record producer and artist manager Joey Gardner, who attended the party, was impressed with the trio, and got them signed to Tommy Boy Records. The group originally consisted of Tony, Kayel, and Ralph "Aby" Cruz (who was replaced by Angel Vasquez after the release of the single "Tears May Fall"). Although not widely known, India and Spider (Ray Rivera) were members of the group in its earliest days, as well. The group's first single was "One Way Love", a major hit in the Latin club communities of New York, Chicago, and Miami, which was followed by "Come Get My Love." An album was then recorded, titled Scars of Love, which included the first two singles. The title track was then released as a single, followed by "Tears May Fall," "X-Ray Vision," and "Don't Be Afraid."
The album Louder Than Love was released in 1990, its first single being "I Won't Give Up on You," a slick, contemporary R&B/New Jack Swing groove that was quite a departure from their earlier material, stylistically. 1991 saw even more sonic diversity with the release of the singles "Crash (Have Some Fun)" (a house music hit that featured a rap break by Michelle Visage of the group Seduction), "Give Your Love to Me," and "Louder Than Love."
As a result of Freestyle's waning popularity as a new age of music dawned, TKA stopped recording soon after the single "Louder Than Love" was released, and the trio disbanded. A greatest-hits package was released in 1992 featuring a new track, "Maria," which was released as a single.
Following the split, the members went on to pursue independent interests. Kayel recorded under the name K7, and had a hit hip-hop album called Swing, Batta, Swing, which contained the singles "Come, Baby, Come", "Zunga Zeng" (which interpolated and was loosely based on Reggae legend Yellowman's 1983 early Dancehall hit "Zungguzungguguzungguzeng"), and the Cab Calloway-influenced "Hi De Ho." Tony established a production company in New York, and Angel formed the contemporary R&B group Goodfellaz.
The trio reunited in 2001 and recorded the album Forever, which was released by Tommy Boy shortly before that company ended its joint venture with Warner Bros. Records. TKA, presently consisting of Los, Tre Deuce, and lead singer Kayel, are still performing together.
- Scars of Love (1987)
- Louder Than Love (1990)
- Greatest Hits (1992)
- Forever (2001)
- Love Goes On (2016)