While young hip-hop fans have to make do with the likes of Li’l Wayne, Rick Ross and Nikki Minaj, there are some fans both young and not so young who yearn for the days when mainstream hip-hop had more social consciousness. Twenty years ago, a group called Arrested Development hit the scene and their brand of Southern-fried conscious hip-hop resonated with their fans. Sadly, as detailed in their new “Unsung” the group was forced apart by pressures both internal and external. Speech reveals that the group was put together somewhat strategically, including a singer and an older man to separate it from the gangsta rap groups that were dominating the music scene.
Arrested Development scored with a huge hit in “Tennessee” off their debut "3 years, 5 months & 2 days in the life of..” and took home a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1993. Though the group broke up in 1996 after releasing just one more album, Zingalamaduni, most of the original members, including frontman Speech, got back together and have been performing ever since. Their new release “Standing At the Crossroads” is available for free download now via their official website.
“We've done shows with Lauryn Hill, Wyclef, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common & Black Eyed Peas,” Speech said. “They've all shown us respect as one of the crews that brought conscious hip-hop to the masses. Many present day rap fans tell us we were their introduction. Our new joint, “Standing At The Crossroads” sticks to what we do best, bringing examination & hope through hot grooves."
Arrested Development’s “Unsung” airs tonight at 9 p.m. on TV One.
Watch a clip below.