Straight Outta Compton is a film which follows the emergence and career of the N.W.A group starting from 1986. It mainly follows Andre Young, stage name Dr Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eric Wright or Eazy E (Jason Mitchell) and O’Shea Jackson Sr, otherwise known as Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), and their turbulent journey into stardom through political hip-hop and rap.
This film is one of the best depictions of hip-hop artists in a film. We recently reviewed Notorious (2009) and All Eyez on Me (2017) which follow hip-hop/rap artists Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur and we were left underwhelmed, particularly by All Eyes on Me. Everything which was questionable in those movies, such as the casting choices (In fact, Ice Cube’s own son was cast to play his father in this film), the flow of the movies, the way the artists themselves are portrayed, are all excellently done in this film. Whether you are a fan of the group and retrospective artists or not, you will not be left disappointed.
It inevitably portrays the evolution of political hip-hop and rap. Although at this time this particular genre of hip-hop and rap wasn’t by any means new on the scene, it was still mostly performed underground. It was revolutionary that this type of music turned mainstream. Throughout the movie, we see how the group’s music is used to reflect the brutalities of real life that they suffer. A prime example of this is after the whole group is subjected to discriminatory treatment from the police, Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) writes the lyrics to “Fuck the Police” which talks about the prejudice of the police force due to the colour of their skin and the way they look alone. As well as this the movie also portrays other elements of the environment which provoke their lyrics, for example at the very start of the movie you hear quotes used from the “War on Drugs” campaign which was introduced in America to reduce the trade of illegal drugs within the country, however it turned into a weapon which law enforcement used against minority groups unfairly to arrest, harass and incriminate. Although not shown in the film, Eazy E (Jason Mitchell) witnessed the death of his cousin in a drug deal, which turned disastrous, and thus would cause the motivation to change his lifestyle and would then lead on to co-find N.W.A.
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