Biopic is well deserving of the groundbreaking gangsta rap group, N.W.A.
"Straight Outta Compton," co-produced by N.W.A co-founders Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, in memory of friend and band mate, the late Eazy-E and directed by F. Gary Gray, tells the hard-edged story of how gangsta rap came to be. "Straight Outta Compton" is at times difficult to watch, but overall an epic and captivating film that raps brutal truths about race and police brutality—which continue to resonate today.
N.W.A is comprised of five young men: Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson, Jr.), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), MC Ren (Aldis Hodge), and DJ Yella (Neil Brown, Jr.). Using their music, the most powerful tool they had, these men translated their harsh encounters with the "thug life" while living in Compton. They rapped anthems of rebellion, like the infamous song, "F--k Tha Police", which resonated with people across the country. Their music gave a voice to a silent generation, revolutionizing hip-hop and igniting a culture war. "Straight Outta Compton" tells the story of how five kids went from living in one of the worst areas of the country to being some of the biggest names in hip hop.
No one reaches fame without obstacles along the way, and N.W.A. was no different. It starts at the beginning- the recording of their first song, "Boyz-n-the-hood." "Boyz-n-the-Hood" becomes a local hit, attracting the attention of producer Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti). He signs on with Eazy-E and his company, Ruthless Records, and manages to connect the group with Priority Records. N.W.A. dealt with rocky dynamics of their relationships and the discrimination as they performed around the country. The film chronicles milestones in the group's journey to stardom and downfall. "Straight Outta Compton" gives us a chance to get a remarkable, in-depth look into the humans behind N.W.A.
Just as remarkable is the performance of Jackson, the real-life son of Ice Cube, who's a spitting image of his father. He took numerous acting classes for two years to prepare for the role and it pays off. He copies his father's mannerisms perfectly; it's almost like taking a time machine back to the 80's. His co-stars are not to be overshadowed, either. Hawkins and Mitchell do not get the advantage of being the sons of Dre and Eazy-E, respectively, but they still managed to create accurate representations of the real-life people.
In the film, Ice Cube tells a reporter, "Our art is a reflection of our reality." Probably one of the most shocking things about "Straight Outta Compton" is the history it tells and how eerily similar that history is to the headlines of today. The movie features the habitual harassment of young black men by police, as well as violence from gangs and angry protesters. The Rodney King trial is weaved throughout the movie; bringing attention to just how important N.W.A.'s music was, and is still today.
"Straight Outta Compton" is not for the weak-hearted. The harsh reality of police brutality, drugs, sex, and gang violence of Compton is laced throughout the long movie. Excessive cursing and violence is only to be expected from a movie about a group who released a song called "F—k the Police". In fact, the movie downplays violence, sexism, and homophobia within the group in order to fully deliver the message of N.W.A's story.
Even so, "Straight Outta Compton" is definitely a summer must-see. The movie invests the audience with dramatic scenes, while telling a very real story about one of the most significant and influential groups in hip-hop. As Dr. Dre speaks before N.W.A.'s hit song, "Straight Outta Compton", this movie truly displays the strength of street knowledge.
Straight Outta Compton is rated R for language throughout, strong sexuality/nudity, violence and drug use and is now playing in theaters everywhere.
Maniza Habib. Hi! My name is Maniza and I'm the 2016-17 managing and news editor! My favorite color is black because it looks good on everyone and I love to dance because anybody can! Also, babies are my favorite kind of people and I love watching The ... More »