Arrested Development: the Atlanta hip-hop crew that ruled before trap

Some 20-odd years before Atlanta would become the centre of the hip-hop world with trap acts like Migos, Gucci Mane, Wacka Flocka Flame, Arrested Development were flying the flag for Southern hip-hop in the state.

But the rap veterans are many degrees of separation away from the drugged drawl and snapping hi-hats of the younger trap crews. In the early 90s Arrested Development emerged along with other spiritual and socially-conscious hip-hop of pioneers like De La Soul – a less antagonistic alternative to gangsta rap such as NWA.

Headed up by MCs Speech and Headliner, the collective’s 1992 album 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of… was a late addition to hip-hop’s ‘Golden Age’ that’s been curiously bypassed in recent years. Netflix’s dense eight-part series Hip-Hop Evolution doesn’t even mention the band. 3 Years… won two Grammys and topped many end of year lists, including Rolling Stone naming them Band of the Year, helped by smash hits like Everyday People and Mr Wendal.

They’ve never hit the same heights since, but they’ve been plugging away, despite a five-year hiatus after their second album Zingalamundi. Here’s a chance to see one of the most joyous and thoughtful rap acts in the history of the scene.

  • Arrested Development play Dolan’s Warehouse in Limerick tonight (Tuesday)