The Lighthearted Meaning Behind Ice Cube’s “It Was A Good Day”

Sometimes it just feels good to have a good day. While surrounded by violence and injustice from the police in the early 1990s, Ice Cube felt it necessary to lighten the mood midway through his 1992 third studio album, The Predator. With the seventh song on the 16-track LP, he used “It Was A Good Day” to describe what a perfect day means for him.

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Although the song contains no hooks or choruses or refrains, each of the three verses ends with the proclamation “today was a good day.” Written by Ice Cube and the song’s producer DJ Pooh, there are also writing credits attributed to many others involved with the 1977 Isley Brothers hit “Footsteps In the Dark,” considering Cube and Pooh sample the song here. These names include the Isley Brothers themselves, Rudolph, Ernie, Marvin, O’Kelly, and Ronald, as well as fellow band member Chris Jasper, Al Goodman, Harry Ray, and Sylvia Robinson.

No Police Interactions

After the first verse describes the beginning of Ice Cube’s splendid day—where he ate a good home-cooked breakfast, got a message from a girl he fancied, and played a game of basketball—the second verse digs a little deeper. With rhymes like Saw the police and they rolled right past me and nobody I know got killed in South Central LA, Cube appears to be mildly referencing the Rodney King incident and its subsequent riots earlier in 1992.

[RELATED: The Top 10 Ice Cube Songs]

In fact, during a 2008 interview with the now-disbanded Blender Magazine, Cube spoke about how the riots gave him a bit of trauma but also led to him reminding himself of the happy times he’s had. “The inspiration [for “It Was A Good Day”] was my life at the time,” he said. “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?'”

The Blimp

Today was like one of those fly dreams
Didn’t even see a berry flashin’ those high beams
No helicopter lookin’ for a murder
Two in the morning, got the Fatburger
Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp
And it read “Ice Cube’s a Pimp”

In the third and final verse of the song, Cube is consumed by such blissful joy that he imagines a blimp in the sky giving him compliments. Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp / And it read Ice Cube’s a Pimp, he raps. But, while this may not have been a reality at the time of the song, it became one decades later.

[RELATED: Behind the History and Meaning of the N.W.A. Song “F**k Tha Police”]

After it was discovered via a Tumblr blogger that the day Cube raps about was Jan. 20, 1992, a fundraiser was launched 22 years to the day in 2014 to make Cube’s daydream real life. Donating $25,000 to the Los Angeles charity A Place Called Home, Goodyear teamed up with Cube to fly a blimp promoting his vision.

While it did not plaster “Ice Cube’s A Pimp” specifically on its light-up sign, it did provide the message “FLYING FOR A GOOD DAY.” This was good enough for Cube, who gave a joyous quote at the blimp’s christening. “It’s a dream come true,” he said. “It’s surreal, it’s something I never thought in a million years could happen.

A Good Day Became Much More

At first, Cube’s intention was to just show fans that you can still have good days when surrounded by turmoil. All it takes is waking up on the right side of the bed. Decades later, the song still resonates, whether it be through radios, digital streaming platforms, or blimps. Sometimes people just want to have a good day.

Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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