Possessing a unique talent for approaching sensitive and relevant issues within the Black community, multi-GRAMMY Award-winning hip hop, rap and soul group Arrested Development channel their trailblazing and history-making talents into the poignant hymn for Black girl magic that is “Never Had Your Back” – check it out on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/5N5dMnJWAEg
Fresh from their newest album, For The FKN Love, and featuring lyrics from Speech and background vocals from Ke’Andra, legendary British Boom-Bap producer Configa wraps everything up in a well-executed production.
“Never Had Your Back” features a compelling overall concern for the way that Black women are portrayed in modern media and music. Noticing how depictions were demeaning, the group says they went to work crafting a production that would empower “Melanated Black Queens” and raise social awareness.
‘Then pitted your light kids against
The darker kids
Now were conditioned to keeping sparking this
Hating our own women’
“We were excited to make this tune,” Speech shares. “It’s a powerful anthem for all women at the end of the day, but it really is a letter from me to my own daughter. I’m on the turntables and I wanted to hear literal scratching. Then, to top it off, Ke’Andra’s vocals are powerful and complement mine for the chorus!”
Working with British boombap extraordinaire Configa led to some exciting opportunities; the group found themselves recording this song in two different countries — both the UK to work with Configa on the beat, and Georgia to record with Ke’Andra and turntable scratches. They even found themselves working with JG Biggs, who directed the song’s video.
“I immediately put him up at a local hotel and we started shooting immediately; he brought his portable Insta360 camera which shoots literally everywhere at once. I knew we had to get the whole group over, plus Ke’Andra, the guest vocalists, and just do some impromptu performances.”
Arrested Development’s unique catalog of positive and afrocentric music creates an alternative to gangsta rap, and the group continues to dominate the counterculture meant to inspire others.
With 30 years of scene-shaping experience to their credit, Arrested Development was the first hip hop group to ever receive the GRAMMY for Best New Artist while also receiving a Best Rap Single Award after the release of “Tennessee” — a single that went on to be named by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the Top 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.
While they’ve continued to perform in sold-out venues across every part of the world for three decades and counting, the group’s introspective yet positive social theming has also been a strong foundation for Arrested Development throughout the years. In September of 2019, the Black Music Honors Awards recognized this timeless group of performers and collaborators with an award that acknowledges artists who have made a significant contribution to African American music.
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