Next up in ESPN's "30 for 30" documentary series is Tuesday night's "Straight Outta L.A.," a look at the relationship between the Raiders and Los Angeles' music and gang scenes in the 1980s from pioneering hip hop artist Ice Cube.

The film is a mostly lighthearted look at the notorious Raiders of that era and how they bonded with the less glamorous, less wealthy side of the L.A. area.

Interview highlights include Snoop Dogg and Al Davis.

I thought the film was a fun watch. My only quibble is that because Mr. Cube, 40, came of age just as the Raiders were hitting town, he has a somewhat distorted perception of Los Angeles' place in franchise history.

To him, it was essential. To many of us older or younger than him, the Los Angeles years seem more like a side business trip for a franchise that belongs in Oakland.

On the other hand, Ice Cube was a Raiders fan even before they moved south and remains one to this day, so his credentials are legit.

I sat down with him for 10 minutes the afternoon of the film's premiere in Manhattan April 23.

Here are some excerpts from our chat:

On whether he thinks the Raiders are on the right track:
“I do. We had our dark time in the ‘90s but we were able to turn the corner and make the Super Bowl. Didn’t win it, but I think that same thing will happen. I think the team believes in Tom Cable. We have a coach that adds continuity.’’

On why he thinks Al Davis agreed to sit down with him for a rare one-on-one interview:

“He just knows I’m a big time and long time Raider fan. I think that kind of got the interview more than anything else we could have said. When he heard it was me, he knows I’ve been representing the Raiders for a long time. I was proud to get it.

“It was cool. It was kind of like you’re going to meet Yoda or something. I had met him but it was just kind of like ‘hi’ in his box. But here was a chance to ask all the questions as a fan that I wanted to ask and a chance to get a piece of history.’’

On why the team resonated with young southern Californians of that era:

“The team to me spoke to an L.A. that was unseen to the rest of the world. When most people saw L.A. in the ‘80s they saw the Showtime Lakers or ’84 Olympics, fun and sun kind of thing. But we knew an L.A. that was a lot more grimy, the underside of Los Angeles. And the Raiders kind of represented all of that. And they played right there in the community.

“I think the fans still accept the Raiders over the Rams, who played there for so many more years. They left but when you don’t have anything to replace it, you still long for that team and long for those days. The Raiders were the only team to bring a Super Bowl to Los Angeles. That sticks.’’

On whether he is surprised L.A. still doesn’t have an NFL team:

“It’s unbelievable. When they left in ’94 I thought we were going to have a team in two years, three years. But 15 years, it’s strange. My understanding is L.A. is a cash cow and the old owners don’t want a young owner to come and get that cash cow. Until one of the older owners moves their franchise and gets it, we might be in for a drought.’’

What about the Chargers?

“The Chargers would be hard to accept. But at this point, man, we want a team, we deserve a team, we need a team.’’

On how he came to work with ESPN:

“They said we have this ’30-for-30’ and asked did I see the Spike Lee film ‘Kobe Doin’ Work.’ They asked if there are any sports stories that I want to tell that mean a lot to me. I thought about it and to me this was the biggest impact. The Raiders moving to L.A. was one of the biggest things that impacted my life and in a way everybody’s life, because N.W.A. took on their persona and that image and kind of cemented that image to the world, what we were about, getting past the football fan.’’

On whether Davis appreciates the bond the Raiders had with that culture:

“Oh, yeah. He definitely mentioned that he supported the hip hop culture because of their strong support to the Raiders and to the fan base.’’

On the Lakers now being L.A.’s primary sports image:

“I’m a big-time Lakers fan. I’m fine with that. That’s L.A., too. And that’s more the L.A. that I know now. I’m not living in South Central no more.’’

On whether the Clippers could adopt some of the old Raiders image:

“The Clippers need to go back to San Diego.’’

On his life as a sports fan:

“More than music, sports have always kind of been constantly in my life in some way or another, so I get a kick out of having something on ESPN and going to Raiders camp. I had more fun doing that than any movie I’ve done. Or jumping on stage and all that.’’

More on showing another side of L.A.:

“L.A. has all sides to it, just like New York, and the Raiders spoke to the city I knew more than any of the other teams, even though the Lakers played right there in Inglewood, which is close to my home. But they got the glitz on them. The Raiders had more of that South Central, hard-working man thing."


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