It Was a Good Day

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"It Was a Good Day"
Single by Ice Cube
from the album The Predator
ReleasedFebruary 23, 1993
RecordedMay 1992
Songwriter(s)O'Shea Jackson
Producer(s)DJ Pooh
Ice Cube singles chronology
"It Was a Good Day"
"Check Yo Self"
Audio sample

"It Was a Good Day" is a song by American rapper Ice Cube, released on February 21, 1993 by Lench Mob and Priority as the second single from his third solo album, The Predator (1992). The song was written by Ice Cube and produced by DJ Pooh, peaking at No. 7 on the US 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. Its music video was directed by F. Gary Gray. The song's lyrics describe a generic pleasant day from his life; according to Ice Cube, he had no specific date in mind, though several attempts have been made to identify one.

"It Was a Good Day" was ranked at No. 81 on the list of greatest rap songs of all time by, No. 77 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s, No. 36 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time, and No. 352 on the latter's list of Top 500 Best Songs of All Time.[1] In 2008, the song was ranked at No. 28 on VH1's 100 greatest hip-hop songs.[7]


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 at Echo Sound Studios in Los Angeles in 1992, where it was one of the first ideas for his upcoming album.[8] He later said, "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?'"[8]

Initially, Ice Cube went into the studio with a sample of the Isley Brothers' song "Footsteps in the Dark". DJ Pooh later enhanced the production with bass and vocals.[8] The song samples "Footsteps in the Dark, Pts. 1 & 2" and The Moments' song "Sexy Mama".[9][failed verification][citation needed] It 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"[edit]

In a 2012 Tumblr post, comedian Donovan Strain used the song's lyrics to determine that the titular "Good Day" likely occurred on January 20, 1992.[10] Strain wrote that this date was "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".[11] Deadspin fact-checked some of the claims.[12]

Online sleuths noted several inconsistencies in Strain's reasoning. For example, it was reported that Yo! MTV Raps did not air that day in 1992 and that "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".[13] Due to these errors, an alternative date has been calculated by a blogger pointing to November 30, 1988.[14]

Ice Cube himself stated that the lyrics are 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."[15]

Goodyear Blimp campaign[edit]

In 2014, Ice Cube agreed to support a fundraising campaign started by four close friends describing themselves as "diehard rap aficionados" who wanted to raise and donate $25,000 to the South Los Angeles charity and after-school youth center A Place Called Home (APCH) if the Goodyear Blimp would display lyrics from the third verse of "It Was a Good Day".[16] After Ice Cube spoke about the fundraising campaign on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Goodyear quickly agreed.[17] However, given the nature of the fundraiser and the organization, Goodyear decided against using the word "pimp" and instead flew the blimp with messages stating "Today is a Good Day" and "Flying For a Good Cause—A Place Called Home".[16]


The song was universally acclaimed by critics. 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."[18] Blender magazine writer, Michael Odel, felt that the song contained, "a chilled-out, feel-good vibe".[8] Greg Sandow from Entertainment Weekly mentioned that Ice Cube rapped over a "partly melancholy, partly swaggering beat [and] glories in good luck, South Central style".[19] Robert Hilburn from Los Angeles Times wrote, "Here is another one of pop’s most gifted--and often misunderstood--artists. The images are a bit bawdy, but the track [...] is noteworthy for the way this controversial rapper reveals a welcome tender side."[20] In his weekly UK chart commentary, James Masterton said, "Thus it is that when Ice Cube finally crosses over and gets his first UK hit, it is with "It Was a Good Day" a laid-back mellow rap, far removed from his usual uncompromising throwdown and may even stand a chance of crossing over even further."[21]

Jon Selzer from Melody Maker felt it's "so laid back and pastoral it could almost be DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, but its tale of cruising and getting laid is undercut with a darker edge."[22] Alan Jones from Music Week gave the song three out of five, declaring it as "a rare low-key offering from the controversial rapper [that] inevitably mentions his bete noir — cops — but is an unusually optimistic celebration, set against samples from the Isley Brothers and the Moments." He added, "Likely to appeal to a wide audience, with good radio potential."[23] Another Music Week editor, Andy Beevers, also gave it three out of five, writing that the song "sees Ice Cube in an uncharacteristically mellow and reflective mood. Its more commercial sound should reach beyond his fan base."[24] Ian McCann from NME wrote, "A slow, borrowed-from-the-Isley-Brothers groove just jogs along there somehow, and suddenly it's summer in the mean streets of LA."[25] Charles Aaron from Spin commented, "Outta the disastrous, misanthropic morass of The Predator emerges this way-too-real gangsta fairy tale. Cube is firing wildly in the wilderness, but don't toe-tag him yet."[26] Vibe magazine described DJ Pooh's beat as a "smoothed-out production".[27]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "It Was a Good Day" was directed by American director and producer F. Gary Gray and was first aired in March 1993.[28] It was later made available on YouTube in February 2009 and had generated more than 249 million views as of November 2023.[29]

The music video follows the song's lyrics, with Ice Cube waking up in the morning in his house in Los Angeles, eating breakfast with his family, driving around in his green 1964 Chevrolet Impala, winning a pickup game of street basketball, avoiding police, going over to a friend's house, watching Yo! MTV Raps, winning games of craps and dominoes, and thanking God for no gang violence–related deaths during the day. Later, he picks up an old 12th-grade crush named Kim; they drink, smoke, watch an NBA game, and have sex; he then drives her home and goes to Fatburger. At the end of the video, as Ice Cube is about to enter his house, LAPD police cars and helicopters surround him, but he ignores them and enters his house with police following behind him with text onscreen saying "To Be Continued...", setting up the plot for the music video to Ice Cube's following single "Check Yo Self". The video contains appearances by WC of WC and the Maad Circle, Jerome "Shorty" Muhammad and J-Dee of Da Lench Mob, Ron Riser and Robin Power.


"It Was a Good Day" reached #77 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s.[30] The song was also included in's Top 100 Rap Songs, at number 81.[31] In 2008, it was ranked #28 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.

Track listing[edit]

UK 2-track CD single[edit]

  1. "It Was a Good Day" (Radio version)
  2. "It Was a Good Day" (Instrumental)

12" vinyl[edit]


  1. "It Was a Good Day" (Radio version)
  2. "It Was a Good Day" (Instrumental)


  1. "U Ain't Gonna Take My Life" (LP version)
  2. "U Ain't Gonna Take My Life" (Instrumental)



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[44] Gold 45,000
Italy (FIMI)[45]
sales since 2009
Gold 50,000
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[46] Gold 30,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[47] Platinum 600,000
United States (RIAA)[49] Gold 600,000[48]

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b "100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. June 2, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  2. ^ "Ice Cube Promotes "It Was A Good Day" Clothing Line To Benefit Autism Speaks". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  3. ^ Brown, T. M. "The greatest hip-hop songs of all time". Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  4. ^ "The 30 best G-Funk tracks of all time". Fact Magazine. July 26, 2016. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  5. ^ "Ice Cube has launched a charity clothing range to support autism". Fact Magazine. March 2, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  6. ^ "The 20 Best Five-year Runs In Rap". Complex. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  7. ^ "VH1's '100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs'". September 25, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
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  11. ^ "I FOUND ICE CUBES 'GOOD DAY'". MURK AVENUE. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  12. ^ The Internet Has Discovered The Exact Day Featured In Ice Cube’s "It Was A Good Day" DeadSpin.
  13. ^ Gradoni, Dino. "Sadly, January 20, 1992 May Not Be Ice Cube's 'Good Day'". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  14. ^ "Correction to Murk Avenue: Ice Cube's 'Good Day' really was Nov. 30, 1988". Pandemonium. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  15. ^ "Ice Cube finally resolves 'It Was A Good Day' theories: 'It's a fictional song'". March 5, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  16. ^ a b "'It Was A Good Day' For Rap Fans Everywhere". HuffPost Canada. January 20, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  17. ^ Fenske, Sarah (January 20, 2014). "Ice Cube Gets His Name on the Goodyear Blimp (For Real)". LA Weekly. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  18. ^ Jason Birchmeier. The Predator > Overview AllMusic. Accessed May 16, 2008.
  19. ^ Greg Sandow (November 20, 1992). The Predator | Music Review Archived December 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Entertainment Weekly. Accessed May 16, 2008.
  20. ^ Hilburn, Robert (December 31, 1992). "Dance Energy Saves Dreary '92: Year-End Review". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  21. ^ Masterton, James (March 21, 1993). "Week Ending March 27th 1993". Chart Watch UK. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
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  24. ^ Beevers, Andy (March 13, 1993). "Market Preview: Dance" (PDF). Music Week. p. 20. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  25. ^ McCann, Ian (March 20, 1993). "Singles". NME. p. 19. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  26. ^ Aaron, Charles (June 1993). "Singles". Spin. p. 86. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  27. ^ Vibe 150: West Coast Archived October 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Vibe. Accessed May 16, 2008.
  28. ^ Ice Cube – "It Was a Good Day" mvdbase. Accessed May 16, 2008.
  29. ^ "Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day (Official Video)". YouTube. February 24, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2023.
  30. ^ 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s. VH1. Accessed May 16, 2008.
  31. ^ Top 100 Rap Songs Archived December 1, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed May 16, 2008.
  32. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 15. April 10, 1993. p. 21. Retrieved March 24, 2024.
  33. ^ "European Dance Radio" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 16. April 17, 1993. p. 25. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
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  43. ^ "The Year in Music: Rap" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 105, no. 52. BPI Communications. December 25, 1993. p. YE-27. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
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  45. ^ "Italian single certifications – Ice Cube – It Was a Good Day" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved July 31, 2023. Select "2023" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "It Was a Good Day" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
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External links[edit]