Interview by Scott Preston
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Speaks thru music to the world. Speech one of the vocalist for this collective says, Our people have been through so much turmoil and strife for hundreds of years now. We get on stage every night with the mission to broaden the perspectives and give inspiration to rise above the stereotypes and materialism." Unsurprisingly, then, the Grammy award winning group Arrested Development has been devoted to nudging folks in the direction of freedom and spiritual evolution for over 15 years.
The group describes their sound as "Life Music." A.D. respects women, and promotes family, spirituality and "male responsibility." They are about consciousness, the earth, African self determination and love. They define themselves as hip-hop artists but also just artists." They are dancers, vocalists, turntablist, drummers, and everything in between. Arrested Development is and has always been a communal music community with any number of talented members on board, picture your family reunion but more musical. Speech may be the most known member of the group, being the front man, but Dionne Farris, Eshe (Black Life), Rasa Don (Raz), Baba Oje (the elder), Nicha and many others have contributed much to this Kalidescope of image and sound. (from arresteddevelopmentmusic.com)
Cincy Groove: How did Arrested Development first get together?
Speech: Back in 1987 I went to a school called The Art Institute of Atlanta. One of the first members I put in the group was a brother named Headliner. He and I started talking and doing these 2 man shows together. We would bring people on stage to do African dance, graffiti, some rhyming. It really started to grow from there because some of the people that came on stage we would invite to come to the next show. Thats basically how the group grew into what it is today.
Cincy Groove: Did the group have a different approach to this last record "Since the Last Time" compared to your earlier ones?
Speech: Yes, we all did. We worked with a producer, Sam Hollander, out of New York. He is really an old school hip hop professional. We really have been going at this record with a feel good, party attitude. We want you to be able to put on the record with a gathering of friends and have some music with a good vibe to it, but at the same time have some messages in the songs also. We didn't go as heavy on the messages this time around with this record, because we weren't feeling so heavy. We were feeling pretty good about where we were in our personal lives.
Cincy Groove: How did you feel about all the attention the group started to get with that first record you put out "3 years, 5 months and 2 days in the life of..."
Speech: It was encouraging but also scary because it was our first album and it was a lot to live up to. I was being compared to Bob Marley at the time which was very scary for me. But of course it felt good to get those awards and recognition from your peers.
Read the full Interview here