Before “Are We There Yet” was even a thought, most of us in the 25+ crowd knew Ice Cube as a member of N.W.A. /OG Raiders Fan. Beyond the music and fashion, he was also one of the few rap-cross-over-actors (and yes, we still enjoy watching Boyz N The Hood).
Well, it seems like UNDRCRCRWN wasn't the only one intrigued by this LA-centric movement. Sean Gregory from TIME Magazine recently sat down with O’Shea Jackson to talk Raiders, rap and his new documentary Straight Outta L.A., produced for ESPN's 30 for 30 film series.
In the late '80s and early '90s, rapper Ice Cube and his Los Angeles–based group, N.W.A. (Niggaz with Attitude), introduced America to "gangsta" rap. Songs like "Express Yourself," "Straight Outta Compton" and "F___ tha Police" spoke for the urban disenfranchised, both rattling the white establishment and spurring imitators in suburban shopping malls throughout the country. During that era, N.W.A. took its attitude and fashion cues from the Los Angeles Raiders, the NFL franchise draped in black whose outlaw image — and bandit fans — served as a near perfect metaphor for the hardcore-rap movement.
N.W.A. helped popularize the Raiders Starter jacket to the point that people were stealing — and in a few cases, even killing — to get their hands on one. What's your reaction to the social cost of your success?
America is caught up in materialism. People will fight over anything. When a man comes and robs a man for a bag full of groceries, we don't say we should ban groceries. People are always going to take things from each other. When something like that happens, I'm not like, "Aw, maybe we need to tone it down, maybe we need to wear purple and gold." You've got to chalk that up to the sick materialism we're all caught up in.