Straight Outta Compton
N.W.A. was easily the most polarizing group to help evolve rap to the status it’s at now. As a fan of their music, fans will not be disappointed with how the meteoric rise and fall of the group is portrayed. Those not too familiar will still be able to enjoy a story/commentary about how life was back then and how a group chose to respond and rise above to give people a voice. The group consisted of Ice Cube (Oshea Jackson Jr.), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.), and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge). As far as casting goes, each member has the looks and mannerisms of each member; it’s amazing with how spot on each person was. Their manager Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) is played truthfully and Suge Knight (R. Marcos Taylor) comes off as terrifying as we were led to believe. Even the actors they got to play Snoop Dogg and Tupac were well done. As for the pace and overall story it was excellent. While I didn’t grow up with the group, by the time I was introduced to them, it felt like they really captured the struggles they faced within and from the outside. With Cube and Dre involved throughout the movie it really gave an authentic feeling when we see the group coming together in the studio for the first times and when they blew up on the scene. From there to the battles with the police and the national conscious, it helped me at least really dig deeper into why they made their music the way they did. Especially when they interplayed the Rodney King riots, that made it sort of validating that they wrote certain songs calling out social issues. It’s eerie how similar it is to today’s climate; and also how shameful that not much has changed from then to now. Anyway I digress, as the group’s egos would grow they started becoming aware of how Jerry and the inner workings of the music industry weren’t giving them fair shake. This led to Cube splitting first then down the road Dre would follow suit. Each would have separate successes but you could tell that they never really wanted to split. The formation of Cube and Dre’s solo careers were filled with their own problems as well. Suge played the biggest villain as far as playing Dre for his own purposes; and they really had him feel intimidating. It’s unfortunate that by the time they talked about coming back together Eazy would be diagnosed with HIV and subsequently lose his battle. They pulled at the emotions and I can guarantee that even though everyone knew what was going to happen, there were still some teary eyes in the audience. The tribute they included for Eazy was a nice touch especially since they made him the primary focus through the movie; whether that was intentional in terms of showing respect or if that’s how it really was is left for questioning. This was really the perfect length and it flowed just so well through their history. In my opinion it should get some recognition come award season, but it doesn’t fit the type of movies that normally get nominated so it probably won’t. The successes it gains from the box office and word of mouth will have to be enough.