In 1982, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis moved his team to Los Angeles, where they were welcomed by fans from Compton to Hollywood. Ice Cube was growing up in South Central L.A.—a different world defined by gangs, drugs, and nascent hip-hop. By the middle of the decade, the Raiders were the toast of the town, and Ice Cube's group N.W.A. had taken the music world by storm. Forging an unlikely relationship between music and sports, N.W.A. embraced the Raiders' image, swagger, and style, forever linking the Raiders' heyday in L.A. with the emergence of gangsta rap.
Set to an old-school hip-hop soundtrack, this energetic documentary features interviews with L.A. Raiders legends like Marcus Allen and Howie Long as well as West Coast rap icons including Ice-T and Snoop Dogg. Lifelong Raiders fan Ice Cube also turns the camera on himself to offer a vivid remembrance of a time when the troubled city of Los Angeles found its kindred spirit in an outlaw football team and discovered its voice in the growing rap scene.
Director's Statement Collapse
In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president, few white kids were listening to Rap, and I was an 11-year-old kid in South Central Los Angeles. I was into sports and watched as many games as I could on TV—the Lakers, USC Football, UCLA, but I hadn't developed a connection to any particular football team. But that fall, something clicked as I watched the Oakland Raiders.
It wasn't just that they were good. They had style and they had swagger: the silver-and-black uniforms, the pirate logo, the players who played tougher and looked cooler than anyone else. There was Lester Hayes with his Stickum and Star Wars visor, Rod Martin flying all over the field making tackles, and owner Al Davis scowling from the stands in his white jumpsuit and thug sunglasses. When the team moved to L.A. in 1982, it was one of the greatest days of my life. My team was now in my city—and everything was about to change.
I wanted to make this film for two simple reasons: 1) I've been a Raiders fan for most of my life and 2) My music career will probably always be linked, in one way or another, with the Raiders' era in Los Angeles. The Raiders played in L.A. from 1982 to 1994—just 13 seasons—but during that time, the team's colors, aura, and superstar players became a phenomenon. And to put it bluntly, I had a lot to do with that.
The music, lyrics, and images that I created with N.W.A., as a solo artist, and as an actor helped turn the Raiders into something more than a football team. It's been 21 years since we released Straight Outta Compton, but to this day, kids all over the world buy Raiders gear, imitate the "Gangster Rap" style and try to connect with the South Central L.A. vibe that we brought to the masses. Over the years a lot of people have written books about the history of hip-hop, the cross-marketing of sports and entertainment, and the influence of Rap music on youth culture. Now it's time for me to tell the story of how it really went down.
And it starts with the Silver and Black.
Cast & Credits Collapse
Primary Cast Al Davis, Marcus Allen, John Madden, Howie Long, Chuck D, Snoop Dogg
Director Ice Cube
Screenwriter Jon Weinbach
Producers Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez, Jamie Patricof, Jon Weinbach, Arunima Dhar
Executive Producers Keith Clinkscales, John Dahl, Joan Lynch, Connor Schell, Bill Simmons, John Skipper, John Walsh