Another Kind of Arrested Development…

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By: Daniel Hodgman

Unless television isn’t your thing or you’ve been living under a rock, or living in a cave, or living up in an attic for that matter, then there’s a very high percentage that you’ve heard of the show Arrested Development. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that 90% of the people who read this piece will shout “COME ON” as if I’m somehow questioning the popularity of the show. The truth is that I’m not, I’m simply acknowledging that some people haven’t seen the light yet. With that being said, Arrested Development is all over the inter-webs these days because of its recent season 4 release on Netflix. Add that to the fact that it’s been seven years since season 3, and that the show’s popularity has grown exponentially since then and you’ve got somewhat of a mess on your hands. When you search “arrested development” on Google and Youtube all of the top hits are clips from the show, reviews of the show and fanblogs that praise the show. But if you dig deeper, you may find another “arrested development,” an Arrested Development that isn’t a television show, but rather a long lost hip-hop group that has taken a backseat to the television classic.

Arrested Development is a hip-hop group that formed on the heels of gangsta rap in the late 80s. Unlike gangsta rap however, Arrested Development centered on alternative themes and content that mainly involved heavy use of spiritualism and Afrocentrism, an ideology that focuses on Black history. Their early cuts, especially from their 1992 debut 3 years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of…, swirl with happy-go-lucky clanky production and lyrical content that mainly talks about peace, spiritualism and love. 3 Years… didn’t just touch on guiding principles and an opposition to gangsta rap, but it also opened up hip-hop to the South and paid tribute to funk and soul legends like Sly & the Family Stone and Earth, Wind & Fire.

The Arrested Development appeal is that this group touched on so many optimistic topics and themes, something that is embarrassingly underused in hip-hop. Songs like “Everyday People” and “Sunshine” revolve around human differences and similarities not through race or culture, but through characteristics. “In Tha South” looks at differences within regions and celebrates the South. And “Somewhere in North Georgia” details the mysteries of life and its wondrous effect on everyone.

Arrested Development is a group that will always be second fiddle to something that’s not even in same realm. Because of the show’s popularity, success and genius, it doesn’t look like the hip-hop group will ever surpass the show on any charts, but in terms of quality they’re right up there. Often overlooked, Arrested Development is hip-hop at its utmost positive and inspiring. So when you’re watching Arrested Development and searching for clips and quotes, remember that the first Arrested Development was actually a hip-hop group from Atlanta, Georgia, and if you’re looking for good vibes and calming cuts, then give them a try.

Notes

Despite the group’s breakup in 1996, they reunited in 2000 and have been releasing music and touring since. 3 Years… is 4x Platinum in the United States and Platinum in the U.K. and their unplugged live album is certified Silver. In 1993 they were named “Band of the Year” by Rolling Stone magazine.

In 2003, the group actually sued FOX over the name Arrested Development. The term “arrested development” is actually a term in the dictionary and a common English phrase and not a creative license so the suit was quietly settled for an undisclosed sum. This is referenced in Arrested Development episodes “Public Relations,” “Motherboy XXX” and “For British Eyes Only.”

Listen to Arrested Development! 

“Somewhere in North Georgia” 

“In Tha South” 

“Everyday People” 

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