Thursday, July 28, 2016

Arrested Development - 3 Years, 5 Months And 2 Days in the Life Of...

Arrested Development is a collective that was founded in the sprawling city of Atlanta, GA. It consists of Speech, DJ Headliner, Baba Oje, JJ Boogie, Rasa Don, Za', Montsho Eshe, One Love, Aerle Taree and Dionne Farris. Speech formed the group in the late eighties, when he met DJ Headliner at the Art Institute Of Atlanta. Now, at the time of their meeting, Speech already had a group called the Disciples Of Lyrical Rebellion. Together, they gradually recruited a couple of vocalists as well as some musicians and renamed the group to Arrested Development. Each member brings their own distinct and provocative style to the table. For instance, Baba Oje is the spiritual elder of the group and provides valuable insight and guidance while Montosho Eshe is a vocalists, dancer and fashion coordinator. JJ Boogie and Za' are both guitarists while Rasa Don is a percussionist. 3 Years, 5 Months And 2 Days in the Life Of... is their debut album and it was released in 1992 on Chrysalis Records. Production is mainly handled by Speech and Headliner, whom then delegate and coordinate who and what to use on a given track. The record is full of live instrumentation and it is definitely a treat to listen to. The beats are all assembled from the ground up and extra attention is given to detail. A couple of tracks are inspired by samples but the rest are all original as can be. The end result is a very crisp and upbeat selection of rhythms that fit the group's style perfectly. The album is also quite strong lyrically. Speech and his fellow vocalists are far from anything ordinary. Their tones, delivery and styles are incorporated with intricate precision into their songs. Again, Speech handles the bulk of the duties on the microphone and displays his lyrical prowess on just about every track. The subject matter is what quickly sets this album apart from others. The group touches on various subjects such as religion, peace, race, unity and the ever lasting struggle for equality. All of this is embedded into their songs and delivered musically with a clear and positive message. The album rounds out at an impressive total of sixteen choice cuts that are all equally enjoyable. Upon release, the record was met with high praise and instantaneous success. This also led to the group winning two prestigious Grammy Awards. The success was short lived though, the group's follow up album was considered a failure while creative and financial disputes erupted within. This eventually led to the breakup in the year 1996 with most members going their separate ways. Speech would then explore the solo route for a few years before reuniting them in the year 2000. By that time it was a little too late and the collective would not experience the same level of success as they did back in 1992 because Southern Rap was headed in a whole new direction. In the end, the group was admired for their passion and originality. They ended up paving the way for many other socially conscious artists while also raising awareness of the situation at hand.

Deadly Verses
People Everyday


Deadly Video




Album Notes
* The album's title is the actual length of time it took the group to get a recording contract.
* DJ Headliner did not participate in the reunion.

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