Arrested Development is an afrocentric hip-hop group, founded by Speech and Headliner as a positive, alternative to the gangsta rap popular in the early 1990s.
It took the group three years, five months and two days to be offered a record deal. Hence the name of the first album was 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of…, which produced several hit tracks. These included “Tennessee”, “People Everyday”, and “Mr. Wendal”, which hit the top ten. The group won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and Best New Artist, and were also Band of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine. Their 1994 follow-up Zingalamaduni, which did very well with some critics but was panned by many others, sold poorly. After the group broke up in 1996, Speech released a solo album, but sales were poor. The group reunited in 2000 (sans Headliner) and has been touring and releasing records via Speech’s Vagabond Productions and Speech Music. While Arrested Development has struggled to regain a following in the U.S., they have met moderate, consistent success in Japan.
Although she was never an official member of the band (and frequently clashed with Speech), the haunting voice behind “Tennessee”, Dionne Farris, released a successful solo album in 1994, Wild Seed-Wild Flower. The album spawned the hit single, “I Know”.
In November 2003, the group sued the FOX network over their TV show Arrested Development. The suit is referenced in the Arrested Development episode “Motherboy XXX.”