If you haven’t been watching the 30 for 30 series of documentaries on ESPN, you’re either way too cool or you’re totally missing out. My favorite thus far was The U, because I like watching guys hump the air after they make a big sack. Anyway, Ice Cube directed a documentary about the Raiders, Straight Outta LA, which recently premiered at Tribeca and hits ESPN next month.
When N.W.A. was forming in the mid-1980s, they didn’t care much for the colorful Troop suits then being worn by rappers such as LL Cool J.
Aw sh*t, son, you better take your ass back to NCIS.
For years, Raiders apparel would be synonymous with N.W.A. and gangsta rap. “It was a team we could identify with, from the neighborhood that we came from,” says Cube. “The Lakers was real glitzy and glamour; the Dodgers were seen as a little out of reach. But the Raiders, it seemed like my uncles played for the Raiders.”
ESPN asked Cube, who has worked as actor and producer in such movies as “Boyz n the Hood” and “Friday,” to contribute a film to “30-for-30.” But he had only directed once: 1998’s “The Players Club.”
“I thought about it for a minute, and this was the story: the L.A. Raiders coming to L.A. and how their image and persona, in a lot ways, changed the trajectory of hip-hop,” he says.
Former Raiders linebacker Rod Martin says in the film that he thought N.W.A. was “too hardcore” and wasn’t “a good advertisement” for the team. Since then, many rappers have sought to associate themselves not with a sports team’s apparel, but their own gear. Master P, for example, launched a line of jerseys for his No Limit Records label.
Cube, too, eventually questioned why he and N.W.A. should fill the Raiders’ coffers. On his 1991 solo album, “Death Certificate,” he rapped: “Stop givin’ juice to the Raiders/ Cause Al Davis never paid us/ I hope he wear a vest.”
Cube interviewed Davis for the film, an experience he compares to “talking to Yoda.” Those rap lines are long forgotten to Cube, still a rabid Raiders fan and an admirer of Davis.
“In rap, being clever and rhyming is key,” he says. “So, you know, that record was done in ’91. It was a whole different time.” [AP]
“Sports without music is just a game,” says Cube. “The music adds the same thing it does for the movie soundtrack: It tells your emotions where to be.”
Wow, that’s… like… deep, man. Is it weird that every time I hear Ice Cube talk all street now I think, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, buddy, that’s not how you sounded in Are We There Yet.”
I think R. Kelly helped write this scene.