As an 11 year old boy quietly living a gentle existence in the meek Bristolian suburbs of Stoke Lodge, it was only a matter of time before the chronic smoking, AK-47 wielding, law enforcement baiting, misogynistic, drive-by shooting narcissism of 90s Gangsta Rap started to induce loud chimes of chilling familiarity. Thus, Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day,” with its hypnotic sample hook and soulful, chilled-out vibe, was one of the many West Coast influences that cemented my “fuck the police” attitude and set in motion a life of crime that resulted in many a purloined Snickers bar from the local Londis.
Though heavily dependent on the hook from the Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the Dark,” this hip-hop classic espouses the sample as its own and, with additional bass and vocal embellishments from producer DJ Pooh, remains one of the highlights of both Ice Cube’s career and the golden era of rap music. Silky smooth and somewhat lighter in mood compared to genre contemporaries, the song’s partly feel-good, partly wistful groove tells a positive, day-in-the-life story involving Yo MTV Raps, sex, basketball, marijuana smoking and the successful evasion of the authorities in South Central Los Angeles.
“It Was a Good Day” peaked at number 7 in the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart and was a surprising Top 30 hit in the UK.
It also strikes a nostalgic chord in evoking all those days in the Stoke Lodge ghetto where a fellow also had no pressing requirement to brandish his “AK.”