ADVERTISEMENT

When Speech, frontman with the iconic Atlanta hip-hop collective Arrested Development, was asked recently for his thoughts on the state of modern hip-hop, he pulled no punches. "There is little to no balance," Speech is quoted on the band's website. "The flood of rappers turned corporate moguls is a reflection of how the genre is losing its creative spirit, but we want to play our part in bringing a balance back! It's time for more substance."

Substance is something that Arrested Development has never lacked. The group's funky blend of hip-hop grooves, politically and socially astute raps, and live ensemble interplay have marked it as a unique entity since its 1991 emergence. Tunes such as "Mr. Wendal" and "People Everyday" helped to earn Arrested Development a pair of Grammys, while simultaneously upping the ante on politically minded music.

Today, the A.D. album "3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days" is considered a classic of the form. You can hear the band perform that album in its entirety -- as well as assorted classics and a few pieces from "Standing at the Crossroads," which is due to drop in early August -- when Arrested Development performs in the Thursday at the Harbor free summer concert series. Aqueous and the Outer Circle Orchestra open the show, which kicks off at 5 p.m. at the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf.

-- Jeff Miers