Interview: The Original Arrested Development (@ADtheBAND) — HipHop Since ’88!

Arres­ted Devel­op­ment and their emcee­ing spokes­per­son Speech have traveled the entire realm of what it is to be a Hip-Hop group. From Grammy recog­ni­tion to indie free releases; chart top­ping to ‘big in Japan’ status; shak­ing hands with Nel­son Man­dela, leg­al wrangles with big TV stu­di­os and always keep­ing vibra­tions pos­it­ive whil­st tack­ling social ills… Here is our inter­view with Arres­ted Devel­op­ment

Q. ‘Delu­sions of Adequacy’ was slated as fin­ished in 2013.. when can we expect it and what is the main mes­sage you want listen­ers to take away from it?

I’m very picky about what goes out & when. The album of that title, is indef­in­itely on hold. I’m wait­ing for a new music­al plat­form that will pro­mote music bet­ter than exist­ing label situ­ations, THEN I could see releas­ing that mater­i­al.

Q. In the past, you [Speech] have alluded to being a teach­er if you were not a Hip-Hop artist. With Bun B, GZA, Killer Mike as well as your­self etc con­duct­ing lec­tures at vari­ous uni­ver­sit­ies, have you given thought to what you would teach over a whole semester?

It would be my pleas­ure to teach about Black his­tory, but also con­nect the dots between our past, present and future. I star­ted a web­site called, BlackExistence.com in the mean­time, that starts with that same mis­sion.

Q. What makes ‘Black Envir­on­ment­al­ism’ so spe­cific­ally rel­ev­ant to the Black com­munity in the hood? Can it be com­pared to the rela­tion­ship of ‘(black)’ woman­ism’ to euro-cent­ric fem­in­ism?

Envir­on­ment­al issues aren’t exclus­ive to any group of people or class. By nature, our food, air and energy sup­ply is a human issue, that every­one should be aware of. The fact that Europeans have been the main group spot-lighted with­in this move­ment is quite sad because, indi­gen­ous peoples have his­tor­ic­ally been the cata­lyst for envir­on­ment­al act­iv­ism. So in essence, it’s always been the brown people’s pas­sion & move­ment, that has more recently been adop­ted by Europeans as well.

Q. Who do you check for in the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of Hip-Hop arists? What draws you to a new artist?

I’m a fan of music and hiphop in par­tic­u­lar, so I listen to pretty much any­thing, but what inspires me, is sur­pris­ing to most people. I tend to like Drake, Jay-Z, Kanye, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and the like. I’m a fan of big con­cepts and they tend to try vari­ous big con­cepts in their mater­i­al, as opposed to simply releas­ing a single that sounds good or radio friendly. I also like to see evol­u­tion in artists. (This is regard­less of wheth­er I agree with their lyr­ic­al con­tent) So, any artist that comes with a con­cept, I tend to enjoy what they deliv­er.

Q. You have inter­ac­ted with Nel­son Man­dela. What social leader(s) today (known or less famil­i­ar) would you want to build with?

I admire Far­rakhan prob­ably the most, after him, people like Sharpton etc are all people I respect. My belief is that, any­one who chooses to carry the flag of justice as their life pas­sion, I want to help that cause. Like my music pas­sions, endors­ing a lead­er, doesn’t mean I endorse their entire mes­sage, it just means I respect their hustle and the niches that they cov­er.

Q. Every­where across the world, Black people are per­se­cuted. Wheth­er it’s black kids shot by police in the States or indi­gen­ous dark skinned people in Asia being treated like 3rd class cit­izens. What is the first step in find­ing solu­tions for this pan­dem­ic?

 The biggest prob­lem is a change of con­scious­ness. Once we see ourselves as one, united by a com­mon ances­try, glory and struggle, then we can see our present day desire for freedom as a con­tinu­ation of our ancestor’s struggles. We pick up where they left off, not start a new. We are empowered and uplif­ted, posi­tioned to stand on the shoulders of our ancest­ors. We are not alone wheth­er Amer­ic­an, Asi­an, Afric­an etc.

Q. What advice would you give to young­er artists in devel­op­ing a com­pel­ling and excit­ing live show?

Get inspired by our past legends and their shows! There’s a lot to lean on. Artists like Sam & Dave, Par­lia­ment, Prince, Michael Jack­son etc. they set the bar high, we should try to bring it like that!

Q. Females are still under-rep­res­en­ted in Hip-Hop. Please shout out your favour­ite female Hip-Hop artists and tell us why we should check for them

Some of my favor­ites are Nikki Minaj — simply for her present­a­tion and flow. (Not her con­tent) I like M.I.A for her ori­gin­al­ity in visu­als, music­al selec­tion and flow. Lastly, Ana Tijoux for her music and flow (although she rhymes in French)

Q. What do you do to have fun away from music?

I love movies, tv binge watch­ing and nature.

Q. Does the name ‘Arres­ted Devel­op­ment’ being used for a show about a upper-middle class white fam­ily still piss you off?

No. What does make me mad is that FOX as a big cor­por­a­tion had no respect for us and our trade­mark of the name. They had to pay us for that dis­respect.

Q. If y’all could have any super­power what would it be?

To be at peace

Q. Where are your Grammy fig­ur­ines?

 In my liv­ing room on a shelf with spot lights on them. We’re proud of our many suc­cesses!

Catch Arres­ted Devel­op­ment in the UK this year! For more details click here. 

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rish­ma Dhali­wal has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rish­ma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.

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