Arrested Development (group)

For the television show, see Arrested Development (TV series). For other uses, see Arrested Development (disambiguation).
Arrested Development
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Genres Alternative hip hop
Years active 1988–1996, 2000–present
Labels Universal Music Publishing Group
Associated acts Dionne Farris
Arele Taree
Members Speech
Montsho Eshe
Rasa Don
One Love
Tasha Larae
Baba Oje
JJ Boogie
Isaiah 'Za' Williams III
Past members Headlinder
Aerle Taree
Kwesi Asuo
Nadirah Shakoor

Arrested Development is an American alternative hip hop group that formed in Atlanta in 1988. It was founded by Speech and his ex-best friend Headliner as a positive, Afrocentric alternative to the gangsta rap popular in the early 1990s.


Arrested Development was formed in 1988 by rap vocalist Todd Thomas ("Speech") and turntablist Timothy Barnwell ("Headliner"). The group's debut album, 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[1] and in The Wire's 1992 Critic's choice.[2] 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.

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.

Their 1994 follow-up Zingalamaduni, wasn't as successful and 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 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. Aerle Taree didn't return to Arrested Development because of vocal problems and DJ Headliner refused to rejoin the band due to business differences between himself and Speech.[3] Today Aerle is a poet and she's converted from Buddhism to Christianity.[4] DJ Headliner has since gone on to start his own business called Creative Royalty Group.[5] In 2010 Baba Oje had a stroke.[6]

The guest 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.[7] The suit is referenced in the Arrested Development episodes "Public Relations", "Motherboy XXX", "Sword of Destiny", 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 was Since The Last Time, released internationally (not in the U.S.) on September 18, 2006. Since The Last Time was later released in the United States on October 30, 2007, on Vagabond Record & Tapes, Speech's boutique label.

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

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, on 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.[8]

In August 2012, the group released its 10th album Standing At The Crossroads, recorded while touring internationally. The album, given away for free from the group's official website, took a lo-fi approach and was recorded entirely on a Mac laptop.[9] The same month they announced a new tour throughout the United States and Australia to celebrate their 20th anniversary.



Former Members



Year Album details Peak chart positions Certification
1992 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of... 3 7 3
1993 Unplugged 40 60 38
1994 Zingalamaduni 16 55 20
2000 Da Feelin' EP
2002 Heroes of the Harvest
  • Label: Vagabond Productions
2003 Extended Revolution
  • Label: Stateside Records
2004 Among The Trees
  • Label: Vagabond Productions
2006 Since The Last Time
  • Label: Vagabond Productions
2010 Strong[16]
2012 Standing At The Crossroads[9]
  • Label: Vagabond Productions[17]
2016 Changing The Narrative[18]
  • Label: Vagabond Productions
2016 This Was Never Home[19]
  • Label: Vagabond Productions


Speech solo


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
1992 "Tennessee" 6 1 34 14 34 12 24 18 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of...
"People Everyday" 8 2 6 6 6 20 6 27 2
"Mr. Wendal" 6 6 1 7 30 42 2 4
"Revolution" 90 49 Malcolm X (Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack)
1993 "Natural" 90 34 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of...
"Mama's Always On Stage" 22
1994 "United Front" 66 Zingalamaduni
"Ease My Mind" 45 14 43 11 33
"Africa's Inside Me"
2000 "If Dey Ask" Da Feelin' EP
"Hit The Road Jack" Heroes Of The Harvest
2004 "Honeymoon Day" Among The Trees
2005 "A Lotta Things To Do"
2006 "Down & Dirty (Clap Your Hands)" Since The Last Time
2010 "The World Is Changing" Strong
2011 "Living" Standing At The Crossroads
2016 "Up" This Was Never Home
2016 "I Don't See You At The Club" Changing the Narrative

See also


  1. "". 1993-03-02. Retrieved 2012-07-28.
  2. "The Wire 30 records of 1992". 1993-01-01. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  3. 13 years later, Arrested Development returns
  4. Alexander, Andrew. (2009-07-15) Speakeasy with poet Aerle Taree | Speakeasy with ... | Creative Loafing Atlanta. Retrieved on 2014-04-24.
  5. Headliner’s revival
  6. Archived April 24, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "Arrested Development Sue Fox". Retrieved 2014-12-08.
  8. "Greener". Retrieved 2010-03-09.
  9. 1 2 "Arrested Development » Standing At The Crossroads - 13 FREE Songs". Retrieved 2012-09-12.
  10. "Arrested Development | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
  11. Arrested Development - Chart history. Billboard. Retrieved on 2014-04-24.
  12. Arrested Development - Chart history. Billboard. Retrieved on 2014-04-24.
  13. "Gold & Platinum searchable database". Retrieved 2014-10-05.
  14. 1 2 "Gold & Platinum searchable database". Retrieved 2014-10-05.
  15. 1 2 "Certified Awards". Retrieved 2014-10-05.
  16. "STRONG : Arrested Development : avex network". Retrieved 2012-01-03.
  17. "Arrested Development - Standing At The Crossroads (Album Review)". Retrieved 2012-09-12.
  18. Pace, Brian (February 2016). "The Pace Report: "Narrative Homeward" The Arrested Development Interview". Retrieved 2016-02-20.
  19. "Arrested Development's Speech On New Album, Kendrick Lamar and Black Lives Matter - Interview".

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arrested Development.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Marc Cohn
Grammy Award for Best New Artist
Succeeded by
Toni Braxton
Preceded by
DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group
Succeeded by
Digable Planets
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