Reference Entry

Arrested Development

Ian Peel

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print November 2013 |
Published online October 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.A2248148

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American hip hop group. Formed in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1987 by the rapper Speech (Todd Thomas; b Milwaukee, WI, 25 Oct 1968), they have combined social commentary and sample-based production with a non-aggressive stance. Other members have included Rasadon (drums), Headliner (DJ), DJ Kemit, Nadirah Shakoor (lead vocals), Za (bass), One Love (vocals), JJ Boogie (guitar), Dionne Farris (vocals), Aerle Teree (poetry and vocals), Ajile and Montsho Eshe (both dance and vocals), and Baba Oje (spiritual adviser). Arrested Development first achieved fame with their debut album, 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of … (Chrysalis, 1992), the title of which referred to the length of time it took them to get a record contract. The album won Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1993 and has sold more than four million copies. The album’s main hit “Tennessee” is a spiritually themed track about reclaiming Southern black traditions amid a history of racism. Other notable songs from the album include “Mr. Wendal,” which drew attention to the plight of the homeless, and “People Everyday,” which reworked Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People.” Their mixture of rapped verses and soulfully sung choruses prefigured music by groups such as the Fugees. Arrested Development’s success furthered a stream of intelligent, gentle, and commercially viable Afrocentric hip hop which was begun by De La Soul’s album ...

Reference Entry.  399 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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