It Was a Good Day
|"It Was a Good Day"|
|Single by Ice Cube|
|from the album The Predator|
|Released||February 23, 1993|
|Genre||West Coast hip hop, gangsta rap|
|Ice Cube singles chronology|
"It Was a Good Day" is a song by American rapper Ice Cube. It was released as the second single from his third solo album, The Predator, on February 23, 1993. The song peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 27 on the UK Charts. On the Billboard Hot 100, the song peaked at No. 15, making it Ice Cube's highest-charting single on the chart to date. "It Was a Good Day" was ranked at No. 81 on the list of greatest rap songs of all time by About.com, No. 77 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s, and No. 36 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time. In 2008, the song was ranked at No. 28 on VH1's 100 greatest hip-hop songs. References to the single were re-popularized when the "It Was a Good Day" internet meme became widely used around 2009.
Ice Cube originally recorded a demo of "It Was a Good Day" in his home studio, and later went on to record the album version in Los Angeles at Echo Sound Studios in 1992, where it was one of the first ideas for his upcoming album. Ice Cube commented on the concept behind the song explaining,
The inspiration was my life at the time ... I was at the top of the rap game. It was the summer of '92 and I was in a hotel room, really in a state of euphoria. I had all the money I had dreamed of. I was in a good frame of mind. And I remember thinking, 'Okay, there's been the riots, people know I will deal with that. That's a given. But I rap all this gangsta stuff—what about all the good days I had?'
Initially, Ice Cube went into the studio with a sample of the Isley Brothers' "Footsteps in the Dark". DJ Pooh later enhanced the production with bass and vocals. The song has been re-released multiple times, including on Ice Cube's Greatest Hits album, Bootlegs & B-Sides, and The N.W.A Legacy, Vol. 1: 1988–1998.
Date of the "Good Day"
In a 2012 Tumblr post, stand-up comedian Donovan Strain used clues from the lyrics of the song to determine that the titular "Good Day" likely occurred on January 20, 1992. Strain claims, "The only day where Yo! MTV Raps was on air, it was a clear and smogless day in Los Angeles, beepers or pagers were commercially sold, Lakers beat the SuperSonics, and Ice Cube had no filming commitments was January 20, 1992." Deadspin later followed up by fact-checking some of the claims made by Strain.
However, Internet sleuths have noted several inconsistencies in Strain's reasoning. For example, it was reported that Yo! MTV Raps did not air that day in 1992, and, "It is unlikely that Ice Cube got 'a beep from Kim' for a booty call since the likely Kim, Ice Cube's fiancée by 1992, was eight-months pregnant at the time." Due to these errors, an alternative date has been calculated by one blogger, pointing to November 30, 1988.
Ice Cube, however, has stated that the day described in the song never actually occurred and is made up of things that happened on a number of different days:
It’s a fictional song. It's basically my interpretation of what a great day would be. Do you know what I'm saying? So, you know, it's a little of this and a little of that. I don't think you can pinpoint the day.
In 2014, Ice Cube agreed to support a fundraising campaign started by four close friends, who described themselves as "diehard rap aficionados", wanting to raise and donate $25,000 for the South Los Angeles charity, A Place Called Home (APCH), an after-school youth center, if the Goodyear Blimp would display the lyrics "Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp / And it read 'Ice Cube's a pimp'" from the third verse of "It Was a Good Day". After Ice Cube spoke about the fundraising campaign on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Goodyear quickly agreed. However, given the nature of the fundraiser and the organization, Goodyear decided against using the word "pimp", and instead, flew the blimp with messages including, "Today is A Good Day", and "Flying For a Good Cause -- A Place Called Home."
The song was universally acclaimed by critics. Blender magazine writer, Michael Odel, stated that the song contained, "a chilled-out, feel-good vibe". AllMusic's Jason Birchmeier noted that even though it was The Predator's "most laid-back moment, [It] emits a quiet sense of violent anxiety." He further stated that the song was, "a truly beautiful moment, a career highlight for sure." Entertainment Weekly mentioned that Ice Cube rapped over a "partly melancholy, partly swaggering beat [and] glories in good luck, South Central style". Vibe magazine described DJ Pooh's beat as a "smoothed-out production".
"It Was a Good Day" reached #77 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s. The song was also included in About.com's Top 100 Rap Songs, at number 81. In 2008, it was ranked #28 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
In popular culture
During a section of the 2020 action-adventure video game The Last of Us Part II, a member of the WLF is shown to be listening to the song in the Lakehill Seattle Hospital while Ellie is hiding in a vent above.
|UK Singles (OCC)||27|
|US Billboard Hot 100||15|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||7|
|US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard)||1|
|US Rhythmic (Billboard)||13|
|US Billboard Hot 100||78|
|US Hot R&B Singles||49|
|US Hot Rap Songs||25|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||600,000|
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- Michael Odell (April 2005). The Greatest Songs Ever! It Was a Good Day Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Blender. Accessed May 16, 2008.
- It Was a Good Day sample search The-breaks. Accessed May 21, 2008.
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- Ramée, Jordan (June 26, 2020). "The Last Of Us Part 2: Every Easter Egg And Reference We've Found". Gamespot. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
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