Arrested Development
Arrested Development.jpg


Atlanta, Georgia, United States


Hip hop, alternative hip hop

Years active

1988-1996, 2000-present


Camus Recordings (1989)
Chrysalis (1992-1994)
Fabulous Records (2001)
Edel Records (2004-2006)
Vagabond Records & Tapes (2009-present)


  • Montsho Eshe
  • JJ Boogie
  • Tasha Larae
  • Baba Oje
  • One Love
  • Rasa Don
  • Speech
  • Za

Past members

  • Aerle Taree
  • Ajile
  • Foley
  • Headliner
  • Kwesi Asuo
  • Nadirah Shakoor

Arrested Development is an American hip hop group from Atlanta, Georgia. The group was founded by Speech and Headliner as a positive, Afrocentric alternative to the gangsta rap genre that was popular in the early 1990s. The group won two Grammy Awards in 1993 for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for their song "Tennessee" from their debut album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life of....

Their 1994 follow-up album Zingalamaduni sold poorly and received mediocre reviews. The group broke up in 1996 due to "creative differences", and Speech begin his solo career by releasing a self-titled solo album that same year. The group reunited in 2000, and have continued to tour and release records via Speech's label Vagabond Records & Tapes. Since their reformation, the group has failed to attain success in the United States but have maintained a career through touring and releasing albums in Japan and Europe.

Biography[edit | edit source]

1988-1989: Formation and debut EP[edit | edit source]

Arrested Development was formed in 1988 by rapper/producer Todd "Speech" Thomas and DJ Timothy "Headliner" Barnwell. Thomas, from Milwaukee, and Barnwell, from New Jersey, met while attending the Art Institute of Atlanta. The group expanded over the next few years to include additional instrumentalists and dancers. One notable addition was Baba Oje, known as the group's spiritual advisor, who had met Thomas while the two were students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee when Oje was aged 57. The group's debut release was a four-track EP titled Support the Music of..., released in 1989 on Camus Recordings.

1991-1992: Commercial peak[edit | edit source]

In 1991, the group signed to Chrysalis and released their debut album, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life of..., the following year. The album's title is a reference to how long it took the group to attain a record deal. The album was one of the most critically and commercially successful albums released that year and earned the group two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (for the single "Tennessee". The album sold over 6 million copies worldwide and greatly influenced future acts such as The Black Eyed Peas and Fugees.

A few months after the release of their debut album, the group was approached by film director Spike Lee, who wanted them to compose a song for his upcoming biopic based on the life of Malcolm X. Their song, "Revolution", was included on the film's soundtrack and appeared as the second half of the film's closing credits.

1993-1996: Sophomore album and break-up[edit | edit source]

Arrested Development's 1994 sophomore album Zingalamaduni failed to match the commercial success of its predecessor, mainly due to the restructuring of the group's label Chrysalis and a subsequent severe lack of promotion. However, the album was still critically acclaimed and earned the group another Grammy nomination (Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "Ease My Mind"). Arrested Development broke up in 1996 due to "creative differences". That same year, Thomas released a self-titled debut solo album, which sold well in Japan.

2000-present: Reformation[edit | edit source]

In 2000, the group reunited. Barnwell was not among those who rejoined as he refused to due to business differences between him and Thomas. Arrested Development's first release after reforming was the EP Da Feelin', released exclusively in Japan. Their third studio album, The Heroes of the Harvest, was similarly released exclusively in Japan when it was released in 2001.

In 2003, Arrested Development sued the Fox network over the name of the TV sitcom Arrested Development. Ultimately, the show's name was not changed. The suit went on to be referenced numerous times throughout the series.

In 2004, Arrested Development released their fourth studio album, Among the Trees. It was released on CD in Japan, Russia, Germany, and Ukraine, but again failed to see an official US release. In 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 donated their $20,000 prize to UNICEF.

In 2006, the group's fifth studio album, Since the Last Time, was their first release in the US in twelve years. In 2007, Arrested Development toured Australia as part of a tour with Simple Minds and INXS.

The group released their sixth studio album, Strong, as a Japanese-only release in 2009. Baba Oje had a stroke in 2010 but survived. In 2012, Arrested Development released their seventh studio album, Standing at the Crossroads, for free online to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the group's debut release.

In 2016, Arrested Development released two albums on the same day: Changing the Narrative and This Was Never Home.

Discography[edit | edit source]

Studio albums[edit | edit source]

EPs[edit | edit source]

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