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Ice Cube talks his Raiders fandom and new film ‘Fist Fight’

The rapper is focused on the future and obsessed with Oakland’s NFL team in his spare time


Hours before two of college football’s fiercest rivals were set to take the field for the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, actor, producer and filmmaker Ice Cube made a prediction.

“I’m going to go with Clemson,” Cube said. “I’m a big fan of what Alabama has been doing, but I think it’s time to see some new kids at the podium.”

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Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide took on Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers on Monday in Tampa, Florida, in a national championship rematch. Just last year, Saban and his team defeated Swinney’s Tigers, 45-40, but this year Swinney’s squad won the battle. Cube called it. Clemson beat Alabama, 35-31.

The multifaceted entertainment guru was in Tampa to take in the college football atmosphere while promoting a new film that shows his wide range as an actor. And it actually fit the theme that Saban and Swinney bring to our world — rivalries.

Set to hit theaters on Feb. 17, Cube is taking a beef to the big screen in Fist Fight. His rival? Actor Charlie Day. The two are high school teachers in the film. Day accidentally gets Cube fired, and Cube wants to work out his grievances in a fight at the end of the school day. The film also stars actors Dennis Haysbert and Tracy Morgan.

According to Cube, the chemistry between him and Day is perfect, and after a missed opportunity the venture is a long time coming.

“It was great. I’m a big fan of his form of acting, brand of comedy, and the characters he plays,” Cube said. “I was looking forward to working with him. I actually really wanted him to be a part of Ride Along 2. When he couldn’t do that, and then I had a chance to do this [with him], I jumped at the chance to do it. I’ve been watching Charlie for a while now, and I think it’s cool to finally be on screen with him. I think our chemistry is perfect, especially for this movie.”

Ice Cube and Charlie Day attends the Warner Bros.special screening of "Fist Fight" on January 10, 2017 in Miami, Florida.

Ice Cube and Charlie Day attend the Warner Bros. special screening of Fist Fight on Jan. 10 in Miami.

Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

“Just being creative, doing something that’s new and fresh, having an idea in the back of my head and bringing it to life where people can enjoy it. That is what motivates me. Not just sitting on what I’ve done in the past, but it’s all about what I’m going to do in the future.” — Ice Cube

Day can be seen every week acting alongside Danny DeVito on FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the second-longest-running live-action sitcom currently entering it’s 14th season. Day is one of the show’s writers and an executive producer. He may be best known for his role as the high-pitched character Dale in Horrible Bosses with Jamie Foxx, Jason Sudeikis and Jason Bateman.

Day and Cube are both big football fans. It’s not new that Cube is a longtime Oakland Raiders fan. Day was born in New York but grew up in Rhode Island. Although his character on his sitcom is based in Philadelphia, the comedic actor is a New England Patriots fan.

Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, the former N.W.A. member Cube became a die-hard fan and passionate part of Raider Nation. Cube’s Oakland Raiders are battle-tested and have fought back after over a decade in the “black hole” of the NFL to reestablish themselves as a winning franchise. For the first time in 14 years, the Raiders made it back to the playoffs and posted their best season since 2000 with 12 wins.

“I’m proud,” Cube said. “I was happy this season. It was a great season, but everyone knows what happened this season with our quarterback. Next year, we’ll be ready. This team will be that much more ready to take the next step.”

While the Raiders may have spent the last decade fighting to get out of the black hole of the league, it surely won’t take that long for this film to laugh its way to the top of the charts.

In many of his movies, such as Friday, Are We There Yet? and Barbershop, Cube is portrayed as the loyal friend, defender and dedicated family man. Rarely will you see him as the antagonist or “the bully.” But he pulls off the role in Fist Fight.

“I like them both,” Cube explained. “To me, if I can bring something to the character, if I can bring life to the character and add my flavor to it, I usually like it. I can play either role. It’s fun to be the bad guy.”

Cube, born O’Shea Jackson, began his career as a gangsta rapper performing alongside hip-hop legends Dr. Dre and Eazy-E. He first got his break on the big screen when producer John Singleton took a chance on him to star in his 1991 black cult film, Boyz N The Hood, and the rest is history. According to Box Office Mojo, Cube’s most successful film franchises to date have been 21 Jump Street and Ride Along.

Cube is always optimistic about his new ventures and is driven by creativity, which is what he brought to his role in Fist Fight.

“Just being creative, doing something that’s new and fresh, having an idea in the back of my head and bringing it to life where people can enjoy it,” Cube said. “That is what motivates me. Not just sitting on what I’ve done in the past, but it’s all about what I’m going to do in the future.”

Check out the trailer for Fist Fight:

Toiaya Crawford is writer, public relations guru and a proud Tampa native who is unapologetic about her love of Beyonce, sports and a good book.