Our Top 10 Arrested Development Songs list looks at a hip-hop group who recorded positive music. Over the years, the group consisted of numerous people. The group members included Headliner, Speech, Aerle Taree, Baba Oje, Montsho Eshe, Dionne Farris, Nadirah Shakoor, Rasa Don, Dan Ajile, Foley, Kwesi Asuo and Arnae. They weren’t your typical hip-hop group. They blended soul, funk and blues into their music. Their music was the alternative to gangsta rap.
Their debut album 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of… sold over six million copies. The group won two Grammys for their work on the album. “Tennessee,” “People Everyday” and “Mr. Wendal” peaked on the Top 10 on the Billboard charts. Their singles include “Tennessee,” “People Everday,” “Mr. Wendal,” “Revolution,” “The World Is Changing,” “Ease My Mind,” “United Front,” “Sunshine” as well as other hits.
Arrested Development got together in 1988. Speech and DJ Headliner were the founding members of the group. They wanted to make positive music after listening to Public Enemy. Baba Oje (eldest member), Montsho Eshe (vocalist and dancer), Rasa Don (drummer and vocalist) Aerle Taree (vocalist and stylist) joined the group in 1990. Dionne Farris is a vocalist and she joined the group in 1992. She stayed with the group for a short time. She left to pursue her solo career.
3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of…was released in 1992. The album peaked at number three on the R&B and Hip-Hop charts and number seven on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Tennessee,” “People Everyday,” “Mr. Wendal” and “Natural.” The album sold over four million copies. Zingalamaduni came out in 1994. The album peaked at number 20 on the R&B and Hip-Hop charts and number 55 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “United Front,” “Africa’s Inside Me” and “Ease My Mind.” The album didn’t perform as well as their previous album. Among Tress was released in 2004. It features the singles “Among Trees,” “Honeymoon Day,” “In the Sun” and “I’m Ignoring You.”
Since the Last Time came out in 2006. It features the singles “Miracles,” “Sunshine,” “Stand” and “I Know I’m Bad.” Strong came out in 2010. The album features the singles “The World Is Changing” and “Let Your Voice Be Heard.” For the FKN Love came out in 2021. It features the singles “Never Had Your Back,” “Uni(ty),” “Be Refreshed” and “Vibe.”
Arrested Development wanted to be a group that made music with a message. They wanted to make positive music in a world full of chaos. They may have gone through member changes, but their message remained the same. They are an underrated group who deserve their flowers. Our list is their chance to receive their flowers. Our Top 10 Arrested Development Songs list will feature their best songs.
# 10 – In The Sunshine
The first song on our Top 10 Arrested Development Songs list is “In the Sunshine” from the album Zingalamaduni. The song has a hip-hop sound. The spiritual song is about not letting anyone take your rights away from you. The group talks about the rights we should have in life. They don’t want anything or anyone taking away our rights to do what we want. They don’t want people stopping us from living in the sunshine. They feel the government shouldn’t control how we feel and what we don’t. This is a song that’s universal. They want people of all races to come together and fight. The song has a brilliant message about the world getting together. We should work together as one nation, so we won’t lose control over what we do.
The song has a deep message that will make you think. The music is pretty and relaxing. The music is feel-good music and will make you smile while you’re listening to it. The music is good for your soul. The beat is perfect for the theme. The group do an excellent job playing on this track. It was a great idea to use genuine music instead of computer-generated music.
Speech’s vocals were perfect for this track. His voice blends in with the music. He has a calming voice which makes the song more powerful. His tone is like Nate Dogg and Pharrell Williams. His phrasing is on point. You can understand everything he says. The women in the background harmonize while he’s singing. They perform runs while he sings the track. They timed it just right so that it wouldn’t sound like too many people singing at once. One of the background singers holds an unexpected note while everyone sings the chorus. This underrated song deserves to be heard.
# 9 – Natural
The next song on our Top 10 Arrested Development Songs list is “Natural” from the album 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of… The song has a hip-hop sound. The enthralling song is about celebrating the natural beauty of a woman. The group wants to pay tribute to women who are natural beauties. They may not be considered beautiful to others, but they are beautiful to the group.
There are a lot of women who make themselves look better by using makeup and surgery. The group wants to honor the women who don’t do that. It’s a wonderful way to help build up a woman’s self-esteem. Every woman should feel beautiful without having to spend a lot of money to look attractive to others. Their inner beauty would also make them attractive.
We give the group an A+ for appreciating women’s natural beauty. They could have focused on the women who choose to use makeup as well as other things to look beautiful. They want to treat their women like they are queens. Men should play this track for the women in their lives especially if they have insecurities about the way they look. You will score points for this song.
This is the type of track that will put a smile on a woman’s face. This song is on the album with the monster hits “Tennessee,” “People Everyday” and “Mr. Wendal” so it would be overlooked. This song is just as good as the big hits and should be recognized. The song mixes hip-hop with funk music. The combination works for the song. Speech’s rhyming skills are impeccable. His flow is easy to understand because he raps at a good pace. His singing voice is good too. His smooth vocals are like butter. His voice will relax you if you are stressed out.
# 8 – Never Had Your Back
The poignant song is from the album For the FKN Love. It has a hip-hop beat to it. The compelling song is about the way women get treated in the world. They are exploited in the media and in music. They talk about how differently dark-skinned people are treated from light-skinned people. The group wanted to pay tribute to dark-skinned queens, and we couldn’t be happier about that. Dark-skinned women aren’t always considered beautiful to some people.
This song shows that black women of all shades are beautiful. They let women know that they are queens and not strippers or the b-word. We are proud of them for writing a track like this one. A lot of hip-hop artists exploit women and call them names so it’s a blessing to hear black women being praised. They are apologizing for America never having black women’s backs. They talk about what happened to Breonna Taylor as well as the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Arrested Development proved that time didn’t change their purpose. They still want to sing songs with positive messages. This track may make you emotional especially if you have been treated badly because of the color of your skin. Arrested Development deserves credit for creating a song that doesn’t put women down but builds them up. The music has an old-school sound. It sounds like a throwback to 90s hip-hop music.
Speech is at the top of his game with this song. He never misses a beat while he’s singing. He chose not to rap on this track. He chose poetic lyricism for this song. We dare you to listen to him sing this song and not feel something from it. We believe it’s a bet you would lose. He sounds like Pharrell Williams on this song. Ke’Andra provides the background vocals. She has an incredible voice. She worked well with Speech. She sounds like she has a church background. She is someone to keep your eye on because she might be going places.
# 7 – Miracles
The enlightening song is from the album Since the Last Time. The song has a hip-hop beat. The reflective song is self-explanatory. The group believes the world can do better. They want things to be better for people. They want to be optimistic that things will get better. They believe that miracles can happen for everyone. This is a song that we never knew we needed. The song is perfect because of what’s going on in the world today. We need a song like this to give us hope that things will get better. It was recorded in 2006, but the same problems exist today. The group was ahead of their time with this track.
This song has an upbeat sound. They proved they could record a song with a message and get you on the dance floor at the same time. The made the right call by having the song have an energetic beat so it wouldn’t sound like a depressing song. It’s the type of beat that will make you smile. You can enjoy the beat while listening to the meaningful words. Speech rapped on this track.
He sounds like Nas while he raps on the song. His rhyming skills are very good on this track. He has a smooth flow and you can rap along with him. He will take you to church as he cries out for miracles to happen. The chorus is catchy and memorable. You may find yourself singing this song even when it’s not playing. This is a good song that gives people hope and should get a chance to be heard.
# 6 – United Front
The enlightening song is from the album Zingalamaduni. The song has a hip-hop sound. The social song is about people standing together as one. They want people to stand together or fall together. They talk about trying to see the bigger picture. If we work together, things will get better. They believe the world needs a new leader so things could change.
They want us to forget about our pride and come together as one. They want all races to forget about their prejudices and be one family. The message is important, and we need this today. There is a lot of going on in the world today. The races are getting divided because of what’s going on, so this song is the therapy we all need.
The track was recorded in the 90s and the problems are still going on today. Everyone should hear this song so they can be inspired to join as one. Arrested Development knows how to write a song that will make you think as well as dance. The banger has a great beat that will grab your attention as soon as it starts. The music is uplifting and not depressing.
It will make you move and inspire other people to get on the floor and dance too. Speech has a way to captivate you and hold your attention while he sings. The group gives this song their all. Speech sings the song with a female background singer. Their voices blend well together. He does sing the verses a little low, but it doesn’t hurt the song. You can turn the volume up so you can enjoy the track.
# 5 – Revolution
The next song on our Top 10 Arrested Development Songs list is “Revolution” from the Malcolm X Soundtrack. The song has a hip-hop sound. The militant song is self-explanatory. The song is about Malcolm X’s speech about the revolution. They are talking about rebirth and cleansing in America. Speech felt like the world believed the revolution was a bad thing.
The song is supposed to give people hope for the future. The group wanted to acknowledge the bad things going on in the world today. They talked about teenage pregnancy, black-on-black crime, homicide, crack babies, police brutality as well as other things going on in the world. This track is another timely one because everything they talked about in the song is going on today. The track speaks to people in a powerful way.
Arrested Development wasn’t afraid to talk about things that are destroying our world. They want things to get better and we are on their side. Most artists shy away from the things they want to tackle on their tracks. They stand out from other hip-hop artists that were out during the height of their fame. They were talking about the things going on in the world, but most of them didn’t talk about positive changes.
Arrested Development wants a revolution to be a change for everyone. This song may get you excited about the change. The background chant will give you chills. The group doesn’t hold back with this song. Everyone plays a part in the success of this song. The track is needed and right on time. We should all be looking for a “revolution.”
# 4 – Ease My Mind
The cathartic song is from the album Zingalamaduni. The song has a hip-hop sound. The passionate song is about trying to be sane in a chaotic world. They talk about what happened to minorities during the slavery days. They talk about people being bought and sold. They refuse to be treated that way. They want to do what they want to do and not what they’re expected to do.
The song will make you think about what happened during that time. How would you have handled what was going on during that time? Would you be able to ease your mind knowing that people were being treated that way? If you are the type who would fight for change, this is the song for you.
This track will make you angry and passionate at the same time. It may inspire you to want to do more to make things better. We aren’t living in a time during slavery, but that doesn’t mean bad things aren’t going on in the world today. They want us to find our inner peace during tough times. This song will give you Fugees and the Roots vibes. They recorded music with messages the same way Arrested Development did.
This song will touch you even if you aren’t a minority. If you can’t relate to it, the song will make you open your eyes to what’s going on in the world. Speech and the ladies in the song pour their hearts out over the lyrics. They sing in time with the hypnotic beat. The music has an old-school feel to it. It sounds like something you could listen to at a cookout. There’s a sound effect of a record scratching that will give you old-school vibes.
# 3 – Mr. Wendal
The heartfelt song is from the album 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of… The song has a hip-hop sound. The somber song is about the stigmatization of homeless people. People have issues with homeless people. They treat homeless people like they’re not worthy of being respected. People think they are lazy and don’t want to do anything to change their lives.
They don’t know that some of them went to war and dealt with horrible things that we couldn’t even imagine experiencing. Homelessness is a situation that doesn’t have anyone’s name on it. Anyone could find themselves in that situation. This song was an awakening for Speech. He said that Mr. Wendal wasn’t a person. The song is about an experience.
This song will give you true insight on what happens to people who are homeless. They are treated very badly by most of society and this song is a way to get people to open their eyes to what happened to them. There aren’t too many songs on the radio about homelessness, so this song needed to be done. People seemed to get the message because it was a hit for the group.
They proved you don’t have to brag about having women, money, and cars to have a hit song. Fans want to hear a song that matters too. We can all get something from this song. The deep message can resonate with everyone. No one is guaranteed to never live the life of a homeless person so this song will bring awareness to everyone about the plight of the homeless. Everything is clear and balanced. The production of the song is masterful.
# 2 – People Everyday Remix
The culturally aware song is from the album 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of… The song has a hip-hop beat. The social song is about embracing black culture. Speech wrote this song because he grew up in a conservative town and noticed that black people weren’t aware of their culture. They had negative connotations about the culture. He wanted to set everyone straight about embracing black culture.
He decided to talk about African culture. Here is some trivia about the song. The song is a variation of Sly and the Family Stone’s hit “Everyday People.” The original song wasn’t a hit for the group. Speech had decided to do a remix of the song and it became a hit.
Speech as well as the rest of the group had the right idea because this song is fire. The track has a laid-back sound to it. You can vibe to the music. This is a song that has become a staple at African American cookouts. This track will still get people on the floor to dance. The track was recorded in the early 90s, but never gets old. It will have the same impact it did when it was released.
This is the track that will make people stand up and pay attention. African Americans are the target audience for the track, but people of all races can enjoy the song. Speech doesn’t hold back with this song. He sings it very passionately. He will make you fall in love with this track. We aren’t surprised the song was a big hit for the group.
# 1 – Tennessee
The number one song on our Top 10 Arrested Development Songs list is “Tennessee” from the album 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of… The song has a hip-hop beat. The mournful song is about being taken to another place in time. Speech wanted to write a song about being in a better place because he dealt with too much pain and tragedy. He wrote this song about his brother and grandmother.
He said he and his brother were in Tennessee because their favorite grandmother passed away. Speech’s brother passed away not too long after she did. He was devastated by the loss and wanted to take his mind to a different place. He’s praying to God to help him understand the suffering in the world. This is a great song to listen to if you want to take your mind off the bad things going on in your world.
“Tennessee” is the group’s first song and it was a hit for them. It wasn’t an easy feat for the group to get a hit song when gangsta rap was extremely popular during that time. They proved that a song with depth and meaning could make it to the Top 10 of the Billboard charts. This is one of the group’s signature songs. The song has a melodic beat. The drums dominate the track.
The beat is simple and just what the doctor ordered to get you on the dance floor. Speech and Dionne Farris do a fantastic job with their vocals. Dionne Farris holds a note that will impress you. She does magnificent runs towards the end of the song. You wouldn’t expect a hip-hop track to take you to church, but that’s exactly what it did. This song deserved to be number one on the charts and number on our list.
Top 10 Arrested Development Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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