Al Davis and the Raiders left an indelible mark not just on football, but on pop culture as well. Nowhere else was their influence seen more than through west coast rap super-group NWA, who proudly sported the silver and black in music videos and appearances in the late eighties and early nineties.
"The Raiders were a rowdy bunch way before NWA," rapper and former member Ice Cube said this morning in a phone interview with the NFL Network. "You know, what they showed to us was that you can be yourself and you can still win. You don't have to conform always to the mainstream or to the status quo. You can come out be yourself, own it and you can win."
Cube, born O'Shea Jackson, was also asked what Davis thought of NWA's wearing of Raiders' merchandise in their prime. He said he thinks Davis "loved it."
"I'm pretty sure his bank account loved it," Cube said with a laugh. "We were great fans and we wore the logo well and the Raiders were winning on the field, and (it was) a beautiful thing. I think to this day we all benefitted a lot off of each other when it comes to that Raiders' image."
Cube produced a documentary for ESPN's 30-for-30 series released last year titled "Straight Outta LA". He said Davis warmly welcomed him into Raiders headquarters for an interview to discuss the franchise's rich history.
"I remember him inviting me and my wife into his office," said Cube, said Cube, who was the last person to interview Davis according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. "Showing us all his mementos, all the things from the sixties and when he started the Raiders. And he had everything laid out."
The Los Angeles rapper also acknowledged how Davis changed the game and broke down barriers for minorities in the sport.
"He taught the NFL how to be color blind when it comes to the sidelines," Cube said, referencing Al Davis' hiring of Tom Flores, the NFL's first Hispanic head coach, and Art Shell, its first African-American head coach.
"For the most part, he's always been a player's owner and a guy who's really just all about football," he added.
With the city of Los Angeles planning to build a new stadium to bring back the NFL, Cube would gladly welcome back the team that left after the 1994 season.
"Al always wanted a new stadium," Cube said. "It's a shame that he never got it. But we'd love to have the Raiders back."