- Personnel: Speech (vocals, various instruments); Pappa Jon (vocals, keyboards, percussion, samples); Jason "Take Two" Thompson, Laurnea Wilkerson, Kwesi "D.J. Kemit" Asud (vocals); Freddy "Luck" Luster (acoustic guitar); Richard Stewart (guitar, bass); Stoney Brooks (harmonica); Darian Emory, Kelly O'Neal (saxophone); Melvin Miller (trumpet); Dave Cooley (organ); C.C. (vibraphone, kalimba); Foley, Avery Johnson, Alvin Speights (bass); Lil John, D.J. Brooks, Rick "Big Garage Drums" Morris (drums); D.J. Nabs (DJ); B.J. Thomas (background vocals); Dana Bryant.
- Engineers: Mike Musmanno, Alvin Speights, Jason "Take Two" Thompson, Colin Miller.
- Recorded at The Podium, Fayetteville, Georgia.
- All songs written or co-written by Speech. Samples include "What's Going On" (as performed by Marvin Gaye), "Top Billin'" (as performed by Audio Two), "Everybody Needs Love" (as performed by Gladys Knight And The Pips) and "Paradise" (as performed by Grover Washington, Jr.).
- Speech disbanded Arrested Development after the failure of Zingalamaduni, the band's second album, embarking on a solo career. As it turned out, it wasn't dissimilar from his former band at all. Speech, his eponymous 1996 debut, followed the same peaceful, soulful vibe that informed Arrested Development's two studio albums in a more tempered fashion. Where his former group sounded rootsy and gritty even at their most laid-back, Speech's record sounds slick, generally lacking in funk or dirt. Speech is not as immediate or infectious as 3 Years, but it is certainly more focused than Zingalamaduni. That sense of direction is a welcome relief after the confused mess of Arrested Development's farewell but Speech needs to write more shots of energy like "Ghetto Sex" in order to win back his audience. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Entertainment Weekly (1/26/96, p.58) - "With its rapturous echoes of Sly, Stevie, and Prince, this solo album by the boss of the defunct Arrested Development is more arresting than anyone had a right to expect..."
- Rating: B+
Rap Pages (2/96, p.32) - 7 (out of 10) - "...another demonstration of the musical strength that [Speech] wields....He weaves samples into a mesh of live vocals and instrumentation, creating a sound that rocks easily, whether it's live onstage or in the tape deck..."
New York Times (Publisher) (2/11/96, Sec.2, p.30) - "...On SPEECH, his first solo album, his easygoing, half-sung raps cite hip-hop credentials, sympathize with an unemployed mother and urge black solidarity...a majority of his new songs are politically correct flirting..."
NME (Magazine) (2/24/96, p.49) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Like...Coolio and LV, Speech realised that preaching self-worth is likely to be the only way his bruthas and sistas out of the ghettos....The dawn of the dreads has given way to the rebirth of the anti-OG..."