Many people now associate the Raiders with Oakland, their current home town. However, according to famous rapper Ice Cube, the Raiders will always belong to Los Angeles. The team was in LA for just 13 years, from 1982-1994, but the impact they made on the city can still be seen today. The Raiders represeneted the true LA: the gritty, outlaw life that had run rampent in LA in the late 80′s, as gangsta rap was just emerging. It was a perfect marriage. This, is Straight Outta LA.
This film opens up with the first of a few segway segments that are some of my favorite in the whole series. It’s Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, talking about football and rap, while walking around the Los Angeles Coliseum. They talked about how the Raiders were the true heart of the real LA. They were violent. Rough around the edges. As Cube put it so well in the film, “my team was now in my city.”
When people thought of Los Angeles in the 80′s, many thought of the bright lights of Hollywood, and the glitz and glamour of the showtime Los Angeles Lakers. However, many said that the “real” LA: revolved around two things in the late 80′s: drugs and the emergence of gangsta rap. Crack cocaine was running rampant in the streets of south central LA, while artists like N.W.A and Ice T were emerging in the game. As Ice T put it, “it wasn’t gangasta rap. It was real life rap. We were just talking about what was happening in real life.”
The reason the Raiders worked in LA was becase they too were “rough around the edges”. Many of the players had publicized battles with drugs and alcohol, and many of them were seen as rough, borderline dirty players. However, they were winning, so they got away with it. The highlight of the Raiders time in LA was 1983, when they won the Super Bowl, causing LA to go into a frenzy.
As the Raiders were gaining popularity, young black males in LA were trying to bring rap into Los Angeles. Before the emergence of Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, hip hop was solely a New York thing. However, LA came up with their own version of the craft, and they were doing it in Raiders gear. The black hats matched their look of black shirts. It made them look hard. The Raiders logo starting to become synonymous with hardcore gangsta rap.
I really like the transitions in these films. When its not Cube and Snoop chilling, playing football in the Coliseum, it was cartoons that were showing the birth of N.W.A (Niggas with Attitude). Cube first hooked up with Dr. Dre, who introduced him to Easy E. Eventually, they formed the popular rap group, though as many noted, they called themselves a gang, not a group.
However, all good things must come to an end. The Raiders began to fall, and LA is a town that likes winners. Then, the Raiders agreed to a deal to move to Irwindale, where a new stadium was being built. Suddenly, the Raiders were turning their back on LA, and Ice Cube took note, using his lyrics to take shot at Al Davis and the black and silver.
Everything was falling apart for Los Angeles and the Raiders in the early 90′s. The Raiders were almost out the door, set to move back up to Oakland. Then, the Watts Riots hit in 1992. The last hope for the Raiders in LA was a Hollywood Park deal that was in place, but Al Davis said they wanted a second team. Davis wanted a stadium for himself, so he took the Raiders back to Oakland, ending the era of the black and silver in LA.
For 13 years, the Raiders took over LA. Their colors, their image, turned them into pop culture sensations. This was thanks to gangsta rap. The two will forever be linked together. The Raiders needed rap artists to help make them popular in LA, while the rappers needed the Raiders to help unite them in their effort to bring rap to the West Coast.
We give Straight Outta LA a 5 out of 5, and say that it is easily one of the best 30 for 30′s made. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. Now.