Ahmad – Back In The Day

Ahmad Ali Lewis, who was born October 12, 1975 (as heard in the track “Zoom”), in Los Angeles, California, is an American emcee. Credited simply as Ahmad, he is best known for the 1994 single “Back in the Day,” a nostalgic song that became a signifier for nostalgia in hip-hop culture.

Ahmad is also a member of the group 4th Avenue Jones.

Ahmad Ali Lewis was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. He made his recording debut in 1993 on the soundtrack of The Meteor Man with the song “Who Can.” Released when Ahmad was only 18, “Back in the Day” the remix version (produced by Maurice Thompson & Jay Williams of Barr 9 Productions) hit #26 on the US pop charts and #19 on the U.S. R&B charts on the strength of its catchy hook, sung over a sample of the Teddy Pendergrass song “Love TKO.” It was the first single off his first album, Ahmad. The remix of “Back in the Day” is also featured on the soundtrack of The Wood, a 1999 motion picture. Ahmad secured his first recording contract while still a senior in high school and promptly earned a gold record for his chart-topping hit.

A second album was recorded for Revolution Records—a sub-label of Giant Records—but it was unreleased and he was dropped from the label. In 2002, Ahmad formed a band called 4th Avenue Jones, a collective with a sound he dubbed hiprocksoul. 4AJ secured a recording contract with Interscope Records, through Ahmad’s imprint Lookalive Records. He has toured extensively as a solo artist and as a member of 4th Avenue Jones, visiting such places as the Netherlands, the U.K., Canada, Sweden, Denmark, and Zimbabwe.

Additionally, Ahmad has written, extensively, for other artists. Leela James recorded the Ahmad penned single “Mistreating Me” on her LP “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Also, more recently, his song “Back in the Day” was interpolated by The Dream & Mariah Carey for use on her song “Candy Bling,” featured on her 2009 Island records release “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel.”

Wanting to provide a more stable environment for his toddler son Yeshuwa, Ahmad enrolled at Long Beach City College and graduated as valedictorian, with a 4.0 grade-point average. He was accepted as a transfer student by several universities for the fall of 2008 and chose Stanford University. Ahmad is a 2008 recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, the largest private scholarship for two-year and community college transfer students in the country.

Ahmad’s transition from hip-hop artist to scholar has not gone unnoticed; in fact, his story was featured in the November 2009 issue of XXL magazine, and on the front-page of the Los Angeles Times.

Ahmad recently formed a new music company called WeCLAP, an acronym for We Change Lives, Attitudes and Perceptions. WeCLAP has agreed to allow its label content to be digitally distributed through Syntax Distribution a division of Quality Junk, LLC, a firm based in San Diego, California.

In support of his forthcoming release, Ahmad hosted a DJ Far mixtape titled Western Conference All-Stars. The project includes 100 of the best emcees on the West Coast. Ahmad contributed three freestyles to the project. The mixtape was released globally in mid-September, and a first-of-its-kind “VIDEOmixtape” (a 9-minute short film capturing performances of the freestyles, Directed by Justin Purser) was released in mid-December.

Ahmad graduated from Stanford in June and he released his anticipated sophomore solo project “The Death of Me” on August 10, 2010 as the first WeCLAP release.
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