— StraightOuttaCompton (@ComptonMovie) August 14, 2015
Oh my god…..they’re doing a movie about NWA…Ni**az With Attitudes. Is this the next Boyz In The Hood? Menace To Society? Theatres went into crisis mode thinking the worst was about to transpire in their new luxury venues complete with fancy bars, overpriced food and those very comfortable leather recliners (shout out to Paragon). What they got in return was a movie that broke records and expectations by going from biopic to major motion picture. The movie starts with giving the background of the 5 main original members (who really knew who Arabian Prince was) and how they met up. You see Eazy slinging, Dre engulfed in great music from the past and Cube being bussed from his school with entitled classmates. What you also see is the environment in which the gritty reality raps were manifested from. Dope dealing and gang violence provided the foundation for NWA’s first hit, Eazy-E’s Boyz in the Hood. Boyz in the Hood was different from anything that was out at the time. The 80s were dominated with East Coast music from legends such as KRS-One and LL Cool J. Not much if any attention was casted upon the other coast. Matter of fact, the song was originally written by Ice Cube for an East Coast group named HBO (who????). However the group couldn’t feel the lyrics that included such west coast terms as “gankin” and “6-4” and decided to scrap the project. This led to Dre having to search for someone talented to recorded this guaranteed hit. Enter Eric Wright. Now remember, Eric was only supposed to be the financial backer. Eric wasn’t a rapper. After hours of convincing and recording, Boyz in the Hood was created and Eazy-E was headed for stardom.
Now remember, this was the 80s. Rap was still looked as a flash in the pan music genre. Music critics thought it would die off like Disco recently did. No major label would ever take a young group of black kids from Compton serious. Enter Jerry Heller. Jerry Heller gained fame by working with successful acts such as Elton John and Pink Floyd. He knew that Eazy and NWA were rare talents and saw the potential in the group. He also knew that the group needed proper representation and together with Eazy E, Ruthless Records was founded.
In the beginning, no major labels wanted to join forces and help distribute their records. Only one label, Priority Records, which most successful group before NWA was the California Raisins, would take a chance on Ruthless. What came next was two classic West Coast albums, Eazy-E’s Eazy Duz It and NWA’s Straight Outta Compton. Both albums encompassed the struggles of growing up young, black and poor in South Central LA. One of those struggles was dealing with police brutality (sounds familiar). In order to combat the growing problem of gang violence, the LAPD enacted regular shakedowns and raids in “suspected” gang neighborhoods. What ensued was a rash of police brutality on innocent citizens that resembled the criminals they were supposed to be protecting the innocent citizens from. From that, “F#@k the Police” was created.
“F#@k the police was a crowd favorite, but law enforcement was not impressed. Even the country’s highest level of law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, sent a cease and desist letter to the group over the record. They claimed that the song incited riots and promoted violence against law enforcement. Instead of caving in to the pressure, the group leaned on their 2nd amendment right of free speech and pressed on. Throughout their trials and tribulations (death of family members and contract issues), the group finished one of the most successful hip hop tours ever.
In order to not give the movie away, I will skip the remaining hour and 15 mins of the movie which includes how money broke up one of the best groups ever in Hip Hop. As far as the theatrical and production aspects of the film, kudos go out to F. Gary Gray and his group of young talented actors. This was far from a Lifetime unauthorized movie. This movie was well thought out and well supervised by Cube and Dre to ensure the authenticity of the events. Overall, Straight Outta Compton is a must see and should be heralded as a classic for years to come.