TF Archives

Arrested Development Tour Oz Again

Author: Future Entertainment
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Reflecting on the specimens of humanity currently occupying Planet Earth, Speech observes that, "too many of us, and certainly too many of our leaders, seem to be struggling along the level of weasels or donkeys. I take it be a massive, worldwide case of arrested development." Unsurprisingly, then, the Grammy award winning group Arrested Development has been devoted to nudging folks in the direction of freedom and spiritual evolution. The group describes their sound as "cultural-southern-hiphop-folk-ethnic-funk," aka "Life Music." A.D. respects women, and promotes family values and "male responsibility." They are pro-country life and pro-African self - determination. They are opposed to the pimp/ho approach to male/female relations. They define themselves as "20th Century Africans" They yearn for spiritual revolution...although, as they note on "Mama's Always On Stage" - "Can't be a revolution without women/Can't be a revolution without children."
Arrested Development is and has always been a Hip Hop sound system, sort of like a communal jam band with any number of talented members on board. Speech has always been the hub, but Dionne Farris, Eshe, DJ Kemit, Caron Wheeler, RasaDon, Baba Oje, and many others have contributed to this gumbo of image and sound. A.D.'s debut album 3years, 5 months and 2 days in the life of...referred to the amount of time passed between the formation of the group and the signing of their first record deal. "Tennessee", the crews bucolic first single and video, is an open letter to God, which, not unlike Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit," gives new meaning to the term "Family tree." The song won an MTV music award for best rap single 1992. "People Everyday" their second single is a super funky dancehall-treatment of the immortal Sly Stone anthem "Everyday People", with new lyrics, which lay out the chilling details of a confrontation between "a nigger and an African." Which also won them an award for best music video 1992. "Mr. Wendal" the bands biggest hit, humanizes the "bums" on our streets. Of which A.D. donated half of all the royalties to the National Coalition for the Homeless. Between 1992 and 1995 Arrested Development had released 2 studio albums and an MTV unplugged album together selling over 6 million albums. And won 2 Grammy awards for best new artist and best rap single 1993.
They were the first American artists to donate money to Nelson Mandela and the ANC to help South Africans; They worked with director Spike Lee, on the major motion picture biography X (1994) Also A.D. was the first to usher in the present "dirty south" hiphop craze, and for many music listeners, that turned a deaf ear to hiphop; A.D. was the first rap album they had ever bought.
After a 5 year hiatus, from 1995-2000, the group has reunited and recorded 2 new studio projects, "Heroes of the Harvest" and "Da Feelin'"(EP). To test the waters they released both of them in Speech's highly successful solo market of Japan. By 2001, Arrested Development made numerous visits to Japan (3 visits alone within the first half of the year), where they performed to standing-room-only crowds. They shot a video to support the album and made special guest appearances on a host of Japanese television shows, an astonishing number of radio and press interviews, along with numerous photo shoots.
Back home in the U.S., they performed in Atlanta's Music Midtown Festival during the summer of 2001, with Eyrkah Badu and Talib Kweli to a packed house. When called to support Atlanta Unites, a benefit concert held in Centennial Olympic Park after the 9/11/01 tragedy, Arrested Development did not one, but two sets. VIP's in attendance included a host of national performers, Georgia Governor Roy Barnes, Senator Max Cleland, former U.S. ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, Talk show host Montell Williams, Babbie Mason and many more.<