Never has a biographical film impressed me in the last decade than Straight Outta Compton. This film follows the start of ‘‘gangsta rap’’ and its popularisers: Dr Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella, who in all formed the group N.W.A. (‘‘no, it doesn’t mean ‘No Whites Allowed’’’). From their tough beginnings in Compton, California to performing ‘‘Boyz n the Hood’’ in sold-out shows across the U.S., the movie excels in depicting N.W.A.’s hip-hop career. The movie also depicts the social quandaries that minority groups, particularly in the States’ west coast, suffered from police repression; something that is mirrored in present times.
Our generation probably mostly recognises Ice Cube as ‘that angry-looking guy’ in ‘that movie’, but this movie teaches the oblivious that he is actually an implausible lyricist, who writes of the reality that he and his group mates went through in the young years. The movie explains how the group broke up over contract issues, and shows each of the members’ beginnings in their respective solo careers. Even though it is a tad bit obvious that the film circulates the fame and popularity of Ice Cube and Dr Dre, the plot also includes Eazy-E’s decay to HIV, illness which was failed to be diagnosed before he could be treated and led to his death at the early age of 31. His final moments in his death bed will make you question why this film makes you cry like a baby.
It’s amazing how they found Ice Cube’s doppelganger to portray him. I guess it helps when you’re Ice Cube’s real-life son (‘‘I went through a 2-year audition process’’, okay junior, we believe you). Nevertheless, O’Shea Jackson Jr. is absolute gold acting as his father in the film. Top marks for growing Cube’s 80s mullet. Be prepared to witness the beginnings of other artists like Snoop Doggy Dogg and 2pac. Big thumbs up to the movie’s director, F. Gary Gray for choosing to film Straight Outta Compton in a way that makes the audience feel like they are the 6th member of N.W.A.. As they run away from the police after being warned to not perform ‘‘Fuk da Police’’ at a sold-out concert, you feel your heart racing as the group encounters a mob of police waiting for them outside the arena, as well as hundreds of fans and supporters rooting for N.W.A. and shouting the harsh lyrics to the law enforcement. It’s in this amazing portrayal of the infamous of events that occurred after N.W.A.’s 1989 performance in Detroit that the movie audience feels the anger that the group depicted in their art.
Straight Outta Compton offers a view on the real lives of these artists and shows that behind the ‘bad-ass’ image that they portray for their audience, they are real people that have witnessed and gone through a tough life filled with wretchedness and injustice. Go watch it while you can.