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ICE CUBE: Straight Outta LA

Ice Cube as a kid growing up in South Central-Los Angeles

Ice Cube as a kid growing up in South Central-Los Angeles

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pics courtesy of Ice Cube & ESPN from 30 for 30
Express Yourself! That is exactly what Ice Cube did with his film “Straight Outta LA” in conjunction with ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. Ice Cube wanted to tell the story of how his shipmates from the N.W.A. battleship including MC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy E, DJ Yella, & himself were heavily influenced by the colors of the silver & black from the LA Raiders both physically & metaphorically, & their reasoning behind it! First off, let’s talk a little bit about the Oakland Raiders & what they symbolized. The silver & black of the late 60’s,70’s, & early 80’s were rebels, raggamuffins, & outlaws to say the least led by the King outlaw himself, Al Davis. The raiders were winners & they weren’t afraid to slap you in the face to tell you so. The Silver & black’s hard nosed play started at the top of the outlaw chain from Al Davis to John Madden to Tom Flores, from players like Lyle Alzado, Marcus Allen, Jim Plunkett, Gene Upshaw, Howie Long, & Todd Christianson to name a few. The Raiders symbolized a Mad Max world & they played with the following phrase in mind, “By any means necessary”. Yes, the Raiders epitomized thug mentality on the gridiron. The Raider logo with the pirate, the eyepatch, the swords, & that shield all encased with the silver & black was menacing to say the least. With that in mind, in comes a kid with jeri curls that grew up in South Central Los Angeles better known as Compton who played football in high school & was a B-Boy at heart. His first name was Ice, & his last name was Cube (not really). Cube grew up idolizing the Oakland Raiders & identified with their gritty play & winning ways. Cube admired Al Davis, the crazy owner of the Raiders with those pimped out glasses! Everyone in the ‘hood always had a uncle, a crazy cousin, or their mothers brother that lived in the murder capital of the world, Oakland who rooted for the Raiders from the sidelines of a liquor store, drinking out of a brown bag on any given sunday. Once the NFL-RAMs left LA for Anaheim & Al Davis moved his team from Oakland to LA in 1982, the game was over. Ice Cube & Los Angeles finally had something to be proud of! While the Raiders slapped around NFL teams during the football season, Ice Cube & his friends slapped around a mic & rapped about life in Compton. It wasn’t Hollywood, it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t anything to be proud of, but it was real. Cube, MC Ren, Eazy E, DJ Yella, & Dr. Dre classified themselves as reporters from the streets! Their organization would soon be called N.W.A & they were about to start a new genre & phenomenon known as gangsta’ rap. NWA members started talking about donning getups to create an identity for their organization. Soon thereafter, NWA would find themselves wrapped around the silver & black, the pirate, the eyepatch, the swords, all encompassed in that death defying shield! The LA Raiders would symbolize what NWA was, the hard nosed, roughneck, nitty gritty, slap you in the face outlaw, & do it your own way type of attitude. The Silver & Black represented what NWA wanted to portray, the outlaw defiance with the Darth Vader swagger. In 1988, NWA released their 1st record “Straight outta Compton” & it was a big success! Suburban mofos were donning the silver & black, a measuring stick of triumph for the ‘doughboy’! NWA & the LA Raiders had a great relationship! It was a secret alliance in that one side did not know the other, but the Raiders provided a winning culture, attitude, & something to cheer for in LA while NWA created a culture that advertised the Raider logo with gangsta’ mentality that spawned new fans for the football team as well as provide more revenue for the Raiders in terms of gear sales. Things were all peaches and cream until the LA Raiders started losing which created some dissention in the organization. Al Davis seemed to create friction between himself & some of his players like Marcus Allen. The Raiders also had some draft picks in the mid to late 80’s that flopped. It was all downhill from the late 80’s till…now…basically. Al Davis was definitely a trailblazer being the 1st owner that hired a black & latin head coach. Davis does it his way or the highway & you have to admire him for that. He definitely blazes his own trail for the good or for the bad. It seemed that Davis wanted to blaze himself out of Los Angeles with the lean years ahead of him. Things that amounted which led to the erratic owner to jump ship included losing games, missing the playoffs, attendance at the LA Coliseum was plummeting, the dissention with his players, the LA riots-Rodney King incident, Pete Roselle, & the general perception of the type of fans that were at the games, & the roughneck tailgate parties. In 1994, the Raiders would return to Oakland. As far as Ice Cube, he went solo as an artist in 1989 & his new found skill in acting was beginning to blossom with his debut film, “Boyz in da hood”. Cube was one of the founding fathers of gangster rap & was responsible for the globalization of it with a little help from the spirit of the Los Angeles Raiders when they infected the city with their mad max energy in 1982! Even though Al Davis & the Raiders pulled the plug from LA in 1994,the Raiders will always have a heartbeat in Los Angeles! Ice Cube will always be identified with the 1982-1994 LA Raiders for the outlaw image, the pop culture, & for the pride of the working class mofo’s of South Central-LA! Straight Outta Compton! WEST Siiiide!

–MR. C