Ice Cube crosses into the wide world of sports with 'Straight Outta L.A.,' a highly personal documentary he directed about the connection between the "gangsta rap" movement (namely, his seminal group N.W.A.) and the Los Angeles-turned-Oakland Raiders, produced for ESPN Films. We chilled with Ice Cube for a bit at the Tribeca Film Festival's press headquarters. For a guy who's already achieved legendary status as a hip-hop star, starred in over 25 major motion pictures across all genres -- from drama ('Boyz N the Hood') to comedy ('Friday') to action ('XXX 2') to family ('Are We There Yet') -- and tried his hand at directing ('The Player's Cub'), what's one more (black and silver) hat?
Ice Cube crosses into the wide world of sports with 'Straight Outta L.A.,' a highly personal documentary he directed about the connection between the "gangsta rap" movement (namely, his seminal group N.W.A.) and the Los Angeles-turned-Oakland Raiders, produced for ESPN Films. We chilled with Ice Cube for a bit at the Tribeca Film Festival's press headquarters.
1. How would you sell your movie, 'Straight Outta L.A.'?
I think people who look at sports now see how seamless music and sports go together, they see the merchandise and it's all routine to them. But to me, this was one of the starts of the intersection between music and sports, with rappers and entertainers taking sports to the neighborhood, wearing the merch year-round. To me, it ushered in this whole love affair for crazy sports fans. It's the music in-between that helped merchandise grow so big. So to me it's the history of when music and sports were separate, and here's one of the intersections that leads us to what we have today.
2. Where'd you get the idea for the film?
ESPN approached us, asked us if we were interested in making a documentary on any sport subject that was near and dear to me, whether it was me playing little league or something actually professional. So I thought long and hard, and there was nothing in sports that had greater impact on me than the Raiders moving to L.A. To me, it had all the ingredients for a good movie.
3. What's were your favorite thing about New York?
My favorite thing about New York is just the flavor of the city, the motion, the access to everything.
4. What's your favorite movie set in New York?
'The Wiz.' [laughs] I was a fan of 'The Wizard of Oz' but ['The Wiz'] seemed like it was tailor-made to black kids growing up who wanted to attain this fantasy world. It's like a kid playing stickball, thinking he's in Dodger Stadium, that's the feeling that movie gave me. It was recreating something so special, but doing it our way. That movie was pretty special.
5. Do you think you'll ever do another 'Friday' movie? What would those guys be up to today?
I want to. But I don't want to do it without Chris Tucker. That's what people want. I really want to give people what they want, especially doing it for a fourth time. We can't just go through a movie without giving the people exactly what they want. I've been trying to convince Chris to do it. Just say "yeah," it's alright ... I see Smokey working at a rehab center. [laughs] Craig and Day-Day are probably selling weed by now, get busted, have to go rehab with Smokey, try to convince Smokey to smoke a joint. [laughs] That'd be pretty cool.