The year is 1988. The place is Compton, South L.A. where a group of guys got together and made history. ‘Straight Outta Compton’ directed by F.Gary Gray and written by Andrea Berloff and Jonathan Herman take us on their personal as well as musical journey, a journey that changed music and transformed the world. It’s also a story about a time when police abuse of black people ran rampant. Watching the cops disgusting treatment of members of the black community, sadly reminds us that things have not changed all that much.
The members of N.W.A. was founded by Easy E (the wonderful Jason Mitchell) and Dr. Dre, (Corey Hawkins) and included, Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson, Jr), Dj Yella, (Neil Brown Jr.) and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) in the late 1980’s. They used Easy E’s drug money to form a record label entitled RUTHLESS and it wasn’t long before the group took off. Their unique sound catches the eye of rock manager, Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) who eventually became co-owner of Ruthless along with Easy E.. He got N.W.A. to sign a deal with Priority Records. Unfortunately, Jerry was a manipulative sleeze who only looked out for his interests and Easy E’s, whom he needed on his side, so the rapper could manipulate the other members of the group. Ice Cube is the first one to realize that Easy E and Jerry are the only ones making the big bucks and he leaves to go out on his own. This sets off a war between the rappers which is actually a lot of fun to watch.
‘Straight Outta Compton’ gives us look into what made N.W.A’s music so powerful and so important It’s the story of why this group was able to grabbed the hearts and minds of its audience and catapult themselves into history. N.W.A fed into the rage that black people all over the country were feeling in regards to the police. Their famous, ultra controversial, powerful 1988 anthem, ‘F-k tha Police’ caused them to not only have many confrontations with the cops, but caught the attention of the FBI as well. Through their eyes, we get to experience the Rodney King trial and the riots that came after. This only flamed the fuel of rappers from both the West and East coasts.
Besides the music, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is the story of friendship. These guys really cared about each other and despite their disagreements, the bonds they had for one another never broke. We get to meet several familiar faces, including the notorious Marion “Suge” Knight (the excellent R. Marcos Taylor) who started out as a body guard and went on to become a musical icon in his own right. Suge formed ‘Death Row’ records with Dr. Dre, but it didn’t take long for Dre to become disgusted with Knight’s gangsta tactics. Dre left and went on to form his own company, Aftermath and we all know how that turned out.
‘Straight Outta Compton’ is an explosive, powerful, beautifully acted film, filled with incredible music, and tremendous live performances. The film which received my highest bagel score 5 out of 5, opens in theatres Friday, August 14th. Don’t miss it. Check out my video for more of my thoughts and i’d love to know what you think about this profound and very human bio-pic about the guys from Compton who transformed the world with their music. Thanks everyone.