Arrested Development

Arrested Development is an American alternative hip hop group founded by Speech and Headliner as a positive, Afrocentric alternative to the gangsta rap popular in the early 1990s.

It took the group three years, five months and two days to be offered a record deal, when Chrysalis Records sent A&R director Duff Marlowe to Atlanta's Bosstown Studios to meet with the group's manager Michael Mauldin. Arrested Development had already been offered a single deal for the song "Tennessee," hence the name of the first album, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of..., which produced several hit tracks. These included "Tennessee", "People Everyday", and "Mr. Wendal," all of which hit the Top Ten.

The group won two Grammy Awards in 1993 for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, and were also named Band of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine. 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of... was the number-one album in the Village Voice's 1992 Pazz and Jop Critic's Poll.

A few months later the group was approached by film director Spike Lee to compose a song for his upcoming biopic based on the life of Malcolm X. The group then recorded "Revolution," which appeared on the oldies-dominated soundtrack for the film, as well as the second half of its closing credits when the film was released in 1992. The song gained popularity for its association with the film and the subject matter was considered more edgy compared to Arrested Development's other material at the time.

Their 1994 follow-up Zingalamaduni, which did very well with some critics but was panned by others, sold poorly. After the group broke up due to "creative differences" in 1996, Speech released a solo album; sales were poor in the United States but better in Japan. The group reunited in 2000 (without Headliner & Earle Taree) and has been touring and releasing records via Speech's Vagabond Productions and Speech Music. While Arrested Development has struggled to regain a following in the United States, they have met consistent success in Japan.

The female vocalist on "Tennessee", Dionne Farris, released a successful solo album in 1994, Wild Seed-Wild Flower. The album spawned the hit single "I Know."

Baba Oje is the group's spiritual elder. He and Speech met at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee when they were both students. Baba Oje was 57 years old at the time.

In November 2003, the group sued the Fox network over the name of the TV show Arrested Development. The suit is referenced in the Arrested Development episodes Public Relations, Motherboy XXX and For British Eyes Only.

In June 2005, the group won the first round of NBC's television series contest Hit Me Baby One More Time, performing "Tennessee" and covering Los Lonely Boys' "Heaven." They gave the proceeds ($20,000) to UNICEF.

The group's follow-up to their 2004 Among The Trees, is entitled Since The Last Time, and was released internationally (not in the U.S.) on September 18, 2006.

In March 2007 they toured Australia as part of a triple-bill, along with Simple Minds and INXS.

Since The Last Time was released in the United States on October 30, 2007, on Vagabond Record & Tapes, Speech's boutique label.

On January 8, 2011, they performed in the festival first night for the Sydney Festival in Sydney, Australia.

The group released their ninth album STRONG under Vagabond Records and Tapes and licensed to the Japanese record label Cutting Edge December 9, 2009 and had a top ten hit with the single The World Is Changing in Japan. In an interview with Songfacts, Speech explained that the track "Greener" takes on the issue of climate change from the perspective of the African American community.


Single: Tennessee

13 Response to "Arrested Development"

  1. I liked these at the time, good stuff.

    Kerykeion says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Kerykeion says:

    lol i thought this was about the show at first XD I posted a comment and then went to read your post and realised my fail

    Retro tune, good for nostalgia!

    Old school.

    Band is good, I like the show better =)

    Brendan says:

    wow awesome group!

    Snaz says:

    Old stuff, but good. Nice post!

    ed says:

    2 decades and they still going strong? damn

    One of the all time best!

    donga5000 says:

    The show was way better haha

    Anonymous says:

    old stuff is the best stuff.

    Thought you were posting about the show at first haha.

Post a Comment