Arrested Development

9 October 2021

Arrested Development is an American hip hop group that formed in Atlanta in 1988. It was founded by Speech and Headliner as a positive, Afrocentric alternative to the gangsta rap popular in the late 1980s. Baba Oje and frontman Speech met at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee when they were both students. Baba Oje was 57 years old at the time.

Arrested Development was formed in 1988 by rapper and producer Todd Thomas (“Speech”) and turntablist Timothy Barnwell (known as Headliner). The group’s debut album 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of… was the number-one album in the Village Voice’s 1992 Pazz and Jop Critic’s Poll[2] and in The Wire’s 1992 Critic’s choice.

The group won two Grammy Awards in 1993 for Best New Artist, making them the first hip hop artist to win this award and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, and were named Band of the Year by Rolling Stone. The debut album sold over 6 million copies worldwide.

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.

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