In my review for Are We There Yet?, I threw some vintage Ice Cube lyrics right back at him. In the early 90s, I was a big fan of the man's rap stylings, enjoying AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Death Certificate and Predator. Cube was rapping about not having to sell out after his NWA success, and subsequently sold out.
There's a great Nike ad going viral these days. The ad is below, and I really like it. It's set to Ice Cube's classic and personal favourite "It Was a Good Day", the best song on his Predator album. Check this out.
How do you take a song about a typical day in South Central Los Angeles, complete with sex, drugs and a now defunct basketball team and use it to sell shoes to mainstream America? It's easy, if you follow these simple rules.
1. Delete all references to sex
You won't hear these lyrics in the ad above. "Finally got a call from a girl wanna dig out. Hooked it up on later as I hit the do." or "I got a beep from Kim and she can fuck all night." You just take those lines out completely. In fact, you know that verse near the end that's all about gettin' some? Kill it. Kill it dead. You may have been trying to score with her since the twelth grade, and she may not hesitate to call you the "top gun", but that shit's gotta go.
2. Lose the word "niggaz"
This is important. Every time the word "niggaz" is heard in the song, replace it with "bruthaz" or "homiez".
3. Cut out the drugs and booze talk
Say goodbye to such memorable lines as "I had the brew she had the chronic", "took another sip of the potion hit the three-wheel motion" and "drunk as hell but no throwing up". We're selling shoes here, not marijuana and malt liquor.
4. Make the murder disappear
The objective is to make "It Was A Good Day" a feel good summer song, and murder references are a big bummer. Kill that part that goes "Today was like one of those fly dreams, Didn't even see a berry flashing those high beams, No helicopter looking for a murder." The worst crime in this ad is skateboarding on public property.
5. Lose the irony, lose the point
This song was supposed to be ironic. At the end Cube wakes up and says "Hey wait, wait a minute fool, Stop the shit, What the fuck am I thinking about?" The beauty was the cool vibe and chilled out perspective in South Central on a rare "good day" amidst the violent and oppressive norms.
Nike wanted the song, without the irony. Ice Cube was more than happy to comply.