Set you Tivos or Xboxes or whatever you call those things, Raider Nation. That Ice Cube documentary about the Raiders premieres Tuesday night on ESPN at 5 p.m. PDT, with an encore showing later at 8 p.m. PDT on ESPN2.
"Straight Outta L.A.," the directorial debut of a crazy m*********** named Ice Cube, explores the Raiders' Los Angeles period and the team's unlikely emergence as the unauthorized favorite sports franchise of the early 90s gangsta rap scene. It is one hour long with commercials.
Ice Cube is uniquely suited to tell this story. As a founding member of 90s rap mega-group N.W.A., whose numerous hits cannot be listed here because their titles are too obscene, Mr. Cube helped popularize Raiders merchandise as the signature look for thugs nationwide back in the so-called day.
On one hand, this seems like mandatory viewing for Raiders fans of all ages and area codes. It is a rare and fascinating thing for a sports team's logo and colors become so intertwined with a significant cultural movement, and this phenomenon is probably a big reason why one still finds Raiders fans everywhere.
On the other hand, all the "Los Angeles this" and "Los Angeles that" talk in this film might make Oaklanders want to stab their television sets. Ice Cube's perspective is that of an Angeleno, and the point of view of this documentary is that the Raiders belong in Los Angeles.
Take for instance an interview with Snoop Dogg featured early on in the show. "We needed something like (the Raiders), to solidify what we was doing, to give us what we was missing," says Snoop. "And they needed what we gave them, what they was missing -- a home."
Ouch! From now on, Bay Area, no more sharing your stash with Snoop Dogg.
But Cube also gives the Oakland perspective, by speaking with John Madden and longtime Raiders beat writer Glen Dickey. And he does acknowledge how Al Davis eventually shirked Los Angeles, leaving for money and cash flow reasons.
Ice Cube is uniquely suited to cover that, too. Because money and cash flow reasons are also why Ice Cube left N.W.A.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who thinks the title "Straight Outta L.A." is pretty funny considering where the Raiders currently play.