To all of the ’90s kids out there….close your eyes for a forgotten about music moment in time.
Now, imagine a world without the vibes and beats of Arrested Development‘s Grammy winning album, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of… laced throughout it and spreading the life that it did when it took over our Sony Walkmans nearly a quarter-of-a-century (!!) ago.
We just can’t do it.
Oh, and a game of horseshoes down by the peach tree, anyone? Always.
The music brainchild of rap vocalist Todd Thomas (“Speech”) and beat master Timothy Barnwell (“Headliner”), Arrested Development first formed in Atlanta in 1988 along with members Dionne Farris (“I Know,” right?), Montsho Eshe, Baba Oje, One Love, Tasha Larae, Rasadon, JJ Boogie and Aerle Taree.
Bulldozing onto the Billboard charts with their pulsating and powerful lead single, “Tennessee,” the still truly one-of-a-kind group instantly became regarded for their soulful rhymes and Southern fried beats, which were abundantly crisp and clear in any one of their follow-up singles including “Mr. Wendal” and their groovy rewire of the Sly & the Family Stone classic, “Everyday People,” which they musically crafted into “People Everyday.” Genius.
It also never hurts to mention that Arrested Development also gained recognition from Grammy voters in 1993 when they would take home two trophies-one Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “Tennessee” and the coveted Best New Artist honor. Yeah, it was like that…and it still most certainly is when it comes to that classic AD funkdafied flair and sound.
Also during their early ’90s reign, Arrested Development also caught the attention of famed (and currently Oscar nominated) director Spike Lee to add a song to his then upcoming, little known film, Malcolm X. The group took Mr. Lee’s offer and of course, vibe-d with it, recording the thunderous single, “Revolution,” which appearers on the oldies (but goodies!) dominated accompanying soundtrack.
However, much like what happens with most Best New Artist winners(by the way, hey there, Paula Cole, Shawn Colvin and Marc Cohn), Arrested Development’s music struggle certainly became a little too post-Grammy real with their 1994 sophomore set, Zingalamaduni. Besides the moderate chart success of lead single, “Ease My Mind,” the album wasn’t as well received on the charts as its predecessor, which would eventually lead the group to part ways a few years later in 1996 due to “creative differences.”
However, putting their differences aside in the late ’00s, the group reformed and continued to tour overseas, eventually releasing released their 10th (!) and final album Standing At The Crossroads in 2012. Recorded while touring internationally, the album also coincided with the 20th anniversary of their debut for which the group embarked on an official worldwide tour to celebrate. They also kept the good vibes and beats flowing just last year with the release of “Craft and Optics,” which indeed proves that Arrested Development hasn’t lost a bit even two decades later.
Not that they ever would, because when it came to this group, they’ll always be in a groovy, life-filled music class of their very own, and it’s something no ’90s kid or beyond should ever forget.
Arrested Development cover photo courtesy of SPIN