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A few weeks ago I stepped into the library and picked this CD up and I can't stop listening to it. I can now understand many of the lyrics that didn't quite catch when I was younger. I also think that I draw a lot of strength from this CD.
The music itself is innovative and wonderful. But the lyrics are truly powerful and seem to affirm the choices I have thus far made in my life. These songs discuss the importance of mothers and fathers raising their children, respecting all people (tribute to a homeless man "Mr. Wendal"), valuing nature (Children Play with Earth), the importance of marriage ("U"), and being honest and natural in a relationship ("Natural").
There are some aspects of the songs that I find more spiritual than religious although there are many reference to God. I am not particularly religious and don't think it comes off as being too preachy. There are also many calls to a revolution that seem almost silly but it is very tied to the poetics of original rap music (before it was swept away by gangsta rap).
Although I am not black, I am an immigrant and relate very much with their most famous song "Tennessee" which discusses a nostalgic reconnection to the violence of African American past in the United States. It's dealt with in a way that is mature, deep and intelligent.
A lot of intelligent beautiful rap music exits. This is a great place to start. Here are some other artists you may also enjoy: Spearhead, Blackalicious, Jurassic 5, The Roots, Ms. Dynamite, Public Enemy, Mos Def, Talib Kweli.
Take care of yourself.
The title refers to the duration of time it took to find a distributor and finally record this album. Though, it is unbelieveable, to me, that while a duo like Milli Vanelli can lyp synch their way to a GRAMMY, Marky Mark can drop his pants and become a model for Calvin Klein, posing in his tighty whities, and yet and yet an intelligent, thoughtful and beautiful group with affirmative content in their songs has to wait THREE years to even get a record deal! What a world!
Arrested Development mixes rap (by leader of the band, and lyricist, Speech), the stirring African drum rhythms and arrangements and the powerful vocals of the great Dionne Farris. It's like taking a musical journey, filling your ears with truthful and poetic messages about poverty and humanity ("Mr. Wendel"), anti-"gangsta" inspired messages about treating young Black women with respect ("Everyday People"), and taking an introspective look at the racism of the South and the ghosts that continue to haunt the descendants of slaves ("Tennessee").
This band was made up of a great group of storytellers, and it is truly a shame that they weren't able to continue together for more than a couple of years. We need you, Speech! We need to hear from the poets who take their gifts and use them to educate, not escalate.
Mr Wendall is another gem of a song, about homelessness and recognising the dignity in others. It also has a most compelling arrangement and gripping vocals. Arrested Development highlights personal and social problems without sounding preachy.
The jazzy Raining Revolution is a moving spiritual rap, and Fishin' 4 Religion is a critical look at organized religion. The energetic Give A Man A Fish deals with the music business whilst the bubbly uptempo U and the gentle, melodious Natural are about love and relationships.
Dawn Of The Dreads has lots of pop appeal with its catchy sung parts alternating with the rap; Tennessee has soulful female vocals, and the album concludes on a high note with the spiritual poem Washed Away. What a great album, so original in sound and uplifting in spirit! It encompasses a stunning variety of styles in a set of highly accomplished songs.
This album was positivity pure and simple. The message was strength but also intelligence. We can be poets too. The pen is mightier than the sword.
How many other groups out there subscribe to the African concept of respecting the elders? But Speech and Co. brought Baba Oje with them for spiritual guidance, and he gave them plenty!
The music is soft and deep and beautiful. An anthem for our people, and a prayer of hope.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm enjoying this CD. The item was just as seller advertised. I would use this seller again.Published 12 months ago by Mary E. Westmoreland
Still one of my favorite groups! I'm so glad that I was able to purchase their cd again!Published 14 months ago by fortunate
This group isn't gangster. This group isn't hard core.
This album teaches, this album speaks to you and tells a story.
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