Back In The Day, Ahmad Released A Record That Only Gets Better With Age (Video)
Heads have all heard the “back in my day” stories from elders, tales of times when things were simpler, childhood was easier, and parties were liver. Nostalgia is a familiar trope in Hip-Hop, and MCs of every generation are likely to devote at least one song to the kind of escapism happy childhood memories can induce. Everyone from Biggie, who reminded us of the time “way back, when I had the red and black lumberjack” on 1994’s “Juicy”; to Danny Brown, who on 2012’s “Grown Up,” reminisced about how he could “remember when my first meal was school lunch,” has fondly reflected on the days of old. It was also in 1994 that Los Angeles, California’s Ahmad put a tribute to childhood on wax, and it has remained a perennial classic, thanks in part to a timeless Teddy Pendergrass flip.
Aptly titled “Back In The Day,” the song is not the reflection of a fully grown adult whose present station in life gave him the wisdom gained from living a full life. Rather, it was 18-year-old Ahmad’s memories of 1985 – only nine years prior – that served as the launchpad for the hugely successful gold single. With mention of Gazelle glasses and turkish link necklaces, he seamlessly traipsed into 1987 when Nike Cortez sneakers, J.J. Fad, and K-Swiss were unifying presences in his community. It’s here that perspective becomes a powerful lens, as the mid- to late-’80s marked some of the darkest days of the crack epidemic, particularly in Ahmad’s native South Central region of the city. And yet, despite the high presence of police violence, and all of the social and political factors that would inspire protest songs from the likes of N.W.A., there are still some unforgettably sweet and innocent charms of life for Ahmad. The self-titled ’94 album is filled with jewels beyond this.
22 years later, and pining for days past remains prevalent in the culture. There is no shortage of nostalgic content in the Internet age, when #ThrowbackThursday has become a household name. In light of the tragedies taking place today, songs like “Back in the Day” serve as a reminder that no matter how hard times may be, we will always have crystallized moments that are worth remembering.
#BonusBeat: If you’re cruising in your 4×4 this summer, enjoy this “Jeep Remix”:
This album appeared on the Giant Records LP by the Project Blowed member.