Straight Outta Compton is the hottest and best movie out right now. I know I’m stating the obvious, but when a movie goes No.1 and grosses $60 million in its opening weekend, it’s clearly a topic in most Monday morning conversations and a must see film.
For anyone that’s been living under a rock the past week, Straight Outta Compton is a biopic, directed by F. Gary Gray that tells the tale of Compton, California super-rap-group N.W.A.
For a quick rap history lesson, N*ggaz Wit Attitudes was a rap group formed in 1986, consisting of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, DJ Yella and MC Ren. The group is credited with popularizing gangsta rap and West Coast hip-hop music, and is considered one of the greatest groups in the history of rap music.
Their debut album Straight Outta Compton was released through Eazy-E’s imprint Ruthless Records, in a partnership with Priority Records, and went on to sale over 3 million copies, with the success of their singles “F*ck tha Police” and the album’s title track “Straight Outta Compton.”
Now that the history lesson is out of the way, I will honestly say that I didn’t know a whole lot about the history of N.W.A. When their debut album was released in 1988, I was probably somewhere getting ready for my first day of elementary school and I had no business listening to N.W.A.’s music. In 1988 the only rapper I was listening to was MC Hammer, but
I’ll save that story for another time (but don’t act like Let’s Get It Started wasn’t in everyone’s cassette player in 1988).
Back to Straight Outta Compton….
For me, as a hip-hop writer, the film educated me. Like I said, I didn’t know as much as I should have about N.W.A. I knew the impact the group had, I knew it launched the careers of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, who are two of the godfathers of gangsta rap music. I knew that Eazy-E was the principal member of the group and that he signed Bone Thugs-N-Harmony before he passed away from AIDS. And I didn’t know a damn thing about MC Ren and DJ Yella.
Straight Outta Compton gave me all of that and then some. As I was watching the film, I was thinking to myself, “Damn, they casted an actor that looks and sounds just like Ice Cube.” I guess I should have checked the credits before I watched the movie because Ice Cube was played by his son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., who played the role of his father to perfection, and in my opinion, was the best actor in the film.
I should also note the movie was coproduced by Ice Cube and Cube Vision Productions, so there’s an underlining boss move in Ice Cube casting his son in a blockbuster film and standout role that will propel O’Shea Jackson, Jr.’s Hollywood career.
Corey Hawkins also did an exceptional job portraying Dr. Dre, as did Jason Mitchell in playing Eazy-E.
To see what N.W.A. went through on their way to rap stardom was moving. From the police harassment to music industry conflicts to violence in the streets, Straight Outta Of Compton had me laughing, crying, and sitting at the edge of my seat, begging for more.
I think I teared up when I heard my little sister, Asia Bryant’s song “Just Another Day” playing in a scene early on in the movie, and I don’t think my eyes were dry after that.
But that’s when you know a film is good. Straight Outta Compton will rev emotions inside of you from seeing police brutally and the Rodney King beating and riots. It’ll drive you to tears watching the death of Eazy-E. But in the end, seeing where Dr. Dre and Ice Cube started, and to see where they are now (need I remind you that Dr. Dre is a billionaire), the film will fill you with inspiration.
Yeah, they could have done a better job in casting the roles of Tupac and Snoop Dogg, but it’s not like they were main characters in the story, so you can’t look for something to complain about when the movie is a masterpiece.
Straight Outta Compton is a movie deserving of all the praise and box-office numbers that it’s receiving. And let it be a lesson to CNN that there isn’t always violence when minorities get together.
I’m giving Straight Outta Compton 5 stars. If you haven’t seen it, go see it right now.