Arrested Development Member Baba Oje Has Passed Away

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For the last 30 years, Arrested Development defied the conventions of what a Hip-Hop group could look and sound like. The group was formed by MC/singer Speech and DJ Headliner in Atlanta, Georgia. However, by the collective’s success in the early 1990s, it grew to include a band of sometimes more than 10 people.

One of the members of Arrested Development was Baba Oje. Today (October 26), Oje passed away at the age of 86 years old after a battle with acute leukemia. Considered a “spiritual elder” within the fold as well as a dancer and vocalist, Oje met Speech in Milwaukee when he was in his late fifties. The two men met while Speech was a student at the University Of Wisconsin.

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Speech mourned his band-mate online: “Baba was the oldest member of any Hip-Hop collective and his mere presence in Rap spoke volumes for the genre and for a generation looking for symbolic wisdom and answers. He was an activist for the homeless, a military veteran, a world traveler, spiritual advisor to the group, strict vegan, dancer, vocalist and avid roller skater. His family and friends are scheduling service arrangements for him next week Friday. We will deeply miss Baba Oje and ask for prayers for his family.”

Baba suffered a stroke in 2010. He rejoined the group in the last decade. Notably, Oje was also a member and part of the lineup for 1992’s quadruple platinum 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of… album, as well as the Unplugged LP, and ’94’s Zingalamaduni. He won two Grammy Awards, “Best New Artist” and “Best Rap Album By A Group.” Both of those A.D. wins took place in 1993.

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Described as an advocate for the homeless, it can be presumed that the spiritual advisor had an influence on hits such as “Mr. Wendal.” In 2016, the collective released This Was Never Home.

Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to the members of Arrested Development, as well as the fans and family of Baba Oje.