When it comes to Ice Cube’s place in hip-hop history, he’ll be remembered for three distinct things: his scowl, his jerry curl and his black Los Angeles Raiders cap.
Specifically, the legendary N.W.A. lyricist made the brooding football team’s logo — an eye-patched pirate adorned in silver and black with crossed swords in the background — a symbol in rap lore, long before Jay-Z did the same years later with the Yankees fitted hat.
And in Cube’s documentary, “Straight Outta L.A.,” the veteran MC combines his two loves, rap and the Raiders, and delivers an insightful examination the tangled rise of two multimillion-dollar franchises, the Raiders and gangsta rap.
“Nothing impacted my life more than the Raiders moving to L.A.,” Ice Cube told MTV News of the controversial relocation of the Oakland team in 1982. “Being in N.W.A. [at the time], we were trying to figure out what we were going to do to let people know we were a group. So we decided to wear [all] black. Then I started wearing the Raiders hats. Then, next thing you know, Eazy would show up in Raiders gear. It just became a thing.”
In the production, premiering Tuesday night (May 11) on ESPN as part of their “30 for 30″ film series, Cube weaves the story of the outlaw Raiders team, which won a championship with their tough style, and the poverty-stricken Southern California that spawned acts like N.W.A.
The attitude players like Howie Long and Marcus Allen brought every Sunday helped power the swagger of a young Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre.
“That team represented the L.A. I knew,” Cube explained. “It wasn’t the ’Showtime’ Lakers, where people saw the glitz and the glamour. It wasn’t the ’84 Olympics. It was a little more grimy, and the Raiders represented that, in South Central [where they played]. They had the whole city on lock. To me, [this project] is the true representation of music and sports.”
Are you excited to watch the Ice Cube-directed “Straight Outta L.A.” documentary? Let us know in the comments!