Ice Cube, along with Ice-T, was a pioneer of gangsta rap and one of the founding fathers of hip hop in California. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, Ice Cube was the face of LA hip hop and made several hits. From ‘F*k Da Police’ to ‘Check Yo Self’, the LA rapper was unmatched in his city.
Although the Compton rapper is known and loved for his edgy, raw gangsta lyrics, that is not to say the rapper (real name O’Shea Jackson) didn’t have some more benign songs. In fact, one of his most well-known songs is highly introspective and peaceful. That song is ‘It Was A Good Day’.
‘It Was A Good Day’ is the second single from the rapper’s third solo album, The Predator, released in 1993. Containing a sample from The Isley Brothers’ single ‘Footsteps in The Dark’, the single is slow and smooth. The song was intended to be a contrast to the other songs on the album, which was recorded in the wake of the 1992 LA Riots.
When talking about the inspiration behind the song, the rapper stated, “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?”
An extremely popular song, ‘It Was A Good Day’ is a dreamy ballad of optimism. One of the rapper’s pivotal songs, the track has aged beautifully, and a lot of hip hop fans have found they appreciate it more in hindsight. ‘It Was A Good Day’ was Ice Cube’s way of trying to remedy the dystopian sentiments that arose in LA after the riots by reflecting on all things positive. Hip hop embraced the song, produced by DJ Pooh, considering it a breath of fresh air and a much-needed break from the violence and aggression gangsta rap exuded.
A little know fact about the song is that when it was recorded in Echo Sound Studios of Glendale in California, Jackson made the album cut of the song precisely 4:20 in length to fall in line with the song’s themes of euphoria and hedonism. The number 420 is a slang term used for marijuana. The beat is smooth, but Cube’s delivery and message are the most integral part of the song. You can listen to the track’s isolated vocals in the video below.