Last night I saw “Straight Outta Compton,” the movie depicting the rise and fall of rap group N.W.A. It is excellent! Go see it. End of blog post.
I was pretty pumped to see this movie because N.W.A. was one of the most influential rap groups basically of all time. They put Compton on the map and are responsible for launching the career of one of my favorite rappers (Dr. Dre, obvi). Plus, the N.W.A. story is fraught with drama and perfect for Hollywood.
While there certainly is a lot of rap music in the movie and you should probably be able to tolerate that, you don’t have to be even remotely interested in hip hop to love it. It’s so emotionally powerful and is more than just a biopic of some famous rappers. Aside from detailing the story of Dre, Eazy-E and Ice Cube’s rise to fame and the tensions that arose in their partnership, we see the racial prejudices and police brutality that I wish I could say were typical only of Los Angeles in the 80s and 90s, but that still hit a little too close to home today. Particularly jarring was seeing the actual footage of the 1991 Rodney King beating. We also see the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with Eazy’s passing at the unfortunately young age of 31. (Umm spoiler alert retroactive to the last sentence? Except this is a true story and it happened 20 years ago and sorry if you didn’t realize he was dead, I guess?)
Another thing that makes this movie so great was the casting. Ice Cube is played – very strongly – by his own son, but the actors playing Dre and Eazy also both resembled the men they were portraying, and when Tupac showed up I legitimately thought for a hot second that they were somehow incorporating old Pac footage into this film. Tupac hologram 2.0? (Sadly not, just a serious lookalike).
“Straight Outta Compton” was laugh-out-loud funny, and I loved the depiction of Dre coaching Eazy – nearly universally agreed upon to be a terrible rapper – through Boyz N the Hood.
And on that note, when’s the last time you listened to Boyz N the Hood? What a fantastic song. I had more or less forgotten about it and I’ve already relistened to it a ton of times in the less than 24 hours since I saw the movie.
Overall, “Straight Outta Compton” was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, and the 2.5 hours really flew by – which is saying a lot, because I have a really short attention span. It’s funny and poignant and inspirational and sad all in one, and it’ll definitely make you want to go home and download the eponymous album.