Straight Outta Compton definitely lives up to the hype. For the first time I actually see Hip Hop in a different light, I even think I might understand it a little. I never cared for it, sharing the opinion of many, that it’s just gangster rap with a lot of cursing, disrespect for women and Ebonics that no one could understand except the rappers. This still might be the case with a lot of rap but there’s so much more behind the words and the beats that’s worth exploring and understanding. Plus, one rap doesn’t fit all. Straight Outta Compton starts out in 1986 in a ghetto called Compton, located in Los Angeles, California that is equal to the old Watts neighborhood most of us have heard of. Crime, drugs, poverty, hopelessness, danger, murder and a bad place to be, let alone live. To emerge from Compton alive, clean, not on death row or a junkie is a miracle in itself. Hopelessness is a terrible thing. Being born into it is suicidal, to say the least. The attitude usually is “what do I have to lose?” These young African American men are harassed and disrespected by the police as well as the rest of the world. When rap came about, it was a way to make honest money but more importantly, it was a way to express what they felt, a way to let the world know what they go through every day. A way to achieve fame, dignity, respect and rise up out of an impossible situation. 5 young men, Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.), Eazy-E (Jackson Mitchell), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), DJ Yella (Neil Brown, Jr.), ( and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) formed a hip hop group called N.W.A. They worked hard to make great musical, hip hop tracks that would soon escalate them to stardom after hooking up with a manager named Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) and a record producer named Bryan Turner (Tate Ellington), at Priority Records . N.W.A. was enjoying their fame, traveling, continually on tour, partying and life was looking up but Ice Cube and the others had no contract. Easy seemed to be the only one who was offered a contract to sign. Ice Cube also noticed Eazy-E and Jerry Heller owned the company and was convinced he and the rest of the group was getting shafted. After much confrontation, Ice Cube would be the first to leave and go out on his own. Dr. Dre soon followed, leaving Eazy-E to carry his company alone with the two remaining members. After time, Eazy-E became broke and discovered Jerry had been cheating him all along leaving him in huge debt. As usual, I will stop here so I won’t spoil the entire movie for those of you who haven’t seen it.
Straight Outta Compton runs for 2 hours and 27 minutes and is worth every second. The language is harsh, the nudity is explicit, the violence is graphic and the theme is very street. The story is quite interesting and if you are unfamiliar with the history of the group N.W.A. or hip hop, you’ll certainly get much out of this movie. These are characters we are familiar with as Ice Cube is not only a rapper, but a successful movie actor who starred in films such as Barber Shop, Friday, Boyz n the Hood, Ride Along 1 and 2 and Are We There Yet? and many more. Dr. Dre is also well known for producing Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and 50 Cent. He also started Beats Electronics, which was bought by Apple in 2014 for $3 billion. BTW: Ice Cube’s real son (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) played the role of his father and looks just like him. As a matter of fact, the casting company did an incredible job because the main actors closely resembled the real characters they were portraying. Straight Outta Compton is now on DVD and Blue-Rey and is more than worth seeing. Check it out, you won’t be sorry.
[STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON is nominated for Original Screenplay]