When Arrested Development released their debut album, 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of..., in 1992, the hip-hop world was imbued with gangsta acts such as Ice Cube, Ice-T and the Geto Boys bragging about the AK-47 and bedroom prowess. Arrested Development emerged as the "alternative rap group," anti-gangsta with their favorite F-word being "Freedom." Radio-friendly songs like "Mr. Wendel," "Tennessee" and "People Everyday" catapulted the group up the charts with a unique, catchy, spiritual sound. They were pioneers in rap with their clean sound.
Arrested Development was founded by Todd Thomas, a.k.a Speech, who grew up spending his summers in rural Tennessee with his grandmother, and living the rest of the year near Milwaukee. He moved down to Atlanta to study music business and management at the Art Institute of Atlanta , and here he decided to start a band. He first ran into Headliner (Tim Barnwell) and the other members of the band quickly fell into place. Dancer Montsho Eshe (Temelca Gaither), singer Dionne Farris, drummer/ singer/artist Rasa Don (), soon joined Headliner and Speech. The band's Donald Jones), 62-year-old "spiritual adviser" Baba Oje, and Speech's cousin, singer/dancer/stylist/poet Aerle Taree (Taree Jonescloseness was legendary and Arrested Development were always referred to, by the members and their leader, as a family.