For legendary hip hop artist Too $hort, the Raiders are about way over soccer. To him, a lifelong devotee to the franchise by way of all of their relocations and incarnations, they signify a way of life, a tradition, a style assertion, an ethos.
Raider Nation encompasses a novel love affair with a renegade soccer workforce and a lifestyle; one which has lengthy been intertwined with rap music and acts from each the East and West Coast (New York’s personal Chuck D rocking a Raiders hat in music movies, for example). So a yr in the past, in a pandemic, with the Raiders embarking on their first season in Las Vegas – and one that may be performed fully with out followers – Too $hort wished to commemorate this newest (and ultimate, one assume) transfer, have a good time the bond shared by Raiders followers within the Bay Space, Los Angeles, Vegas and all over the world, and share what being a Raider fan meant to him.
Thus “Raider Colours” was born.
He would find yourself recruiting fellow hip hop icon Ice Dice (representing South Central LA) to hitch the observe, after which additionally Vegas-born entertainer Ne-Yo to signal on it as properly, linking all eras of Raider Nation. Too $hort is an uber-fan, who’s planning his performing schedule round his capacity to get to as many large Raiders recreation as potential. This undertaking helps join and clarify the difficult lineage of this franchise, and it was solely becoming that he and Dice shared the halftime stage collectively Monday night time in what turned out to be an unbelievable and memorable Raiders comeback, upset victory that led to extra time.
“I at all times imagine in Raider Nation, and that is like two various things – soccer and Raider Nation is 2 totally different entities,” he defined to me. “Raider Nation consists of quite a lot of followers from LA and Oakland — quite a lot of followers from approach again within the day, the unique followers, and followers from everywhere in the West Coast that did not have a workforce, or locations that alter to that Raider Nation vibe, and followers scattered everywhere in the nation.
“In gentle of us transferring to Vegas and upholding the Raider Nation vitality, I made a decision to make a tune not about soccer or the workforce or not about any metropolis. We’re all silver and black, we put on Raider colours on a regular basis. If I am not carrying silver and black, I am carrying black. One of many go-to’s for Raider video games rising up was blue denims, a black shirt, black footwear and a black Raider hat. And I nonetheless gown like that loads — blue denims, black shirt, black footwear, black hat. And in my thoughts on daily basis that I put that on I appear like a Raider … I haven’t got to have Raider patch on or a hat on nothing. Simply the colours.”
Too $hort wished to save lots of his love letter to the workforce and its followers till it could be correctly loved. Which meant ready out the pandemic season and savoring the day followers may pack the attractive new stadium in Vegas. He hit up Ice Dice, seeing if he want to collaborate, and received a fast response. “I used to be like man, I received this tune, test it out,” Too $hort mentioned. “And he heard it and I mentioned, ‘I like this, I like this.’ And he put a verse on it.” The concept to place somebody from Vegas on it led them to Ne-Yo, and a brand new anthem was born.”
It might appear odd to many to champion a franchise that simply left $hort’s hometown of Oakland for a second time, however Raider love is about greater than that it appears, with the workforce and model Al Davis created enduring lengthy after his passing.
“Being a Raider fan, in the event you can endure your workforce not having a profitable season for 15 years, that has to offer you some thought of affection there, some unconditional love in there from lots of people. And that new stadium Monday night time, with 65,000 folks was nothing however love. These folks, I do not know what % of them endured these 15 years, however the 15 years earlier than that have been spectacular.
“Raider followers, and Raider Nation sticks collectively. The glue can be caught collectively by the individuals who hate us. You have received folks on the market who hate the Raiders, and folks lately who simply say the Raiders suck. And there is additionally people who hate the outdated Raiders from once we have been good, and there is different individuals who solely hate Raider followers and do not even have an opinion on the workforce. And we like it. We like it. We love all of that.”
In Too $hort’s opinion, hardcore Raiders followers have at all times been keen to journey to see their workforce, so making Vegas the Mecca now is smart. It is shut sufficient to Oakland and LA, and there are a ton of transplants from each cities who already made the fulltime transfer to Vegas earlier than the franchise ultimately did.
“(Monday) night time, it did not really feel like I used to be LA or Oakland or Vegas,” he mentioned. “I felt like I used to be at a Raiders recreation in our new home.”
And, in true Raider style – difficult Al Davis who was seemingly at all times clashing with the league workplace both in court docket or in a boardroom – Too $hort has some concepts about when the Allegiant Stadium was christened (each with followers and with out), and about who it was in opposition to.
“I am going to provide you with my conspiracy theories,” he continued. “Deep down inside on a private degree, the league continues to be mad at Al Davis and nonetheless mad at his antics and so they do not actually just like the Raider group; we’re not their favourite workforce. So final yr, final season, once we have been scheduled to have the very first recreation within the new stadium they put us on the schedule with the savage New Orleans Saints, who absolutely on paper have been going to kick our ass in our new stadium. A pleasant Drew Brees ass whipping. And we received recreation with no followers within the stadium.
“And this yr, that was a setup, too. They hate us a lot they tried to embarrass us and so they did it once more they put the schedule collectively and so they thought Baltimore would kick our ass within the first recreation within the new stadium with followers. I actually be ok with that.”
Too $hort is much from performed attending Raiders video games this season, and he is not writing off their possibilities of profitable at Pittsburgh this Sunday. Whereas he declined to supply a definitive assure that they might prosper in Week 2, he under no circumstances demurred when it got here to their assembly with the Chargers, in LA, in Week 4.
“Two weeks from now, on ‘Monday Evening Soccer’, Chargers/Raiders in Los Angeles – I predict that might be a house recreation for the Raiders,” he mentioned. “And I might be there, and that stadium might be all black. After this season Chargers are going to go the Rams and say, ‘We have now to do one thing concerning the Raiders residence recreation once we play the Raiders right here. They made us purchase tickets to 2 video games simply to go to at least one earlier than, making an attempt to make us not come. The Rams shoulda by no means let the Chargers share that stadium. We’re going to have a Raider residence recreation there.”
Undoubtedly, Too $hort might be carrying his Raider Colours, once more, on that night. He would not have it another approach.