By Mandela Wells
I spent many years studying rap when I was a young buck. Along with the east coast rappers I studied the ones from the west coast and of course I came across N.W.A. Ice Cube, Dr Dre, Mc Ren, DJ Yella and the godfather of Gangsta Rap Eazy E all make up this super group and boy was it amazing to find out how they shook up the music world with their style, sound and subject matter that was unlike any in the rap game at the time. Of all the guys I really enjoyed for me it was Ice Cube that really stood out, he was so raw and probably the most fearsome of the group. However don’t get it twisted these guys all brought the raw ad realistic talk that we all needed to hear on the Straight Outta Compton record. Even more so to learn about their story behind the scenes was quite something.
As all movie bio-pics do this movie Straight Outta Compton looks even deeper into the rise and fall of this legendary group. We learn so much more about these 5 guys then any of us had ever thought. And for a film to have 5 names that aren’t even well known yet play these guys is a risk but it’s a risk that paid off tremendously. Great acting, directing and musical selection has made it not really surprising to brothers like me that Straight Outta Compton would be a hit.
This bio pic documents in further detail how this legendary group came together. Eazy E a.k.a Eric Wright (Jason Mitchell) a known drug dealer with a business mind, Dr Dre a.k.a Andre Young (Corey Hawkins) a talented DJ/producer, Ice Cube a.k.a O’Shea Jackson (his son O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and MC Ren a.k.a Lorenzo Jerald Patterson (Alldis Hodge) two MC’s who were looking for shine, and of course the other producer/DJ Dj Yella a.k.a Antoine Carraby (Neil Brown Jr) who was also a womanizer back then. These 5 individuals through the meeting of Jerry Heller and Eazy E all come together to form this hip hop band. After a successful first studio session that showed Eazy E rapping for the first time these men realize their potential and they eventually get a deal with Priority Records and start working on their soon to be classic album, Straight Outta Compton. The guys ride the waves of success for a few years before money issues come into play and tensions begin to arise among the group as some members venture into different paths and some go through even worst troubles. The film also looks at some other aspects of what led to the disbandment of this legendary rap group.
What an incredible picture. N.W.A’s story is remarkable! Very nice and at the same time exciting beginning to the film when Eazy is running away from the SWAT teams bustin a crackhouse. Felt almost like an action film. What you learn about NWA, Suge Knight and Jerry Heller is beyond belief. I learned so much more about these men than in all my years of studying rap. Well shot and directed, seems all those music videos paid off for F Gary Gray. Killer soundtrack as well. The movie also is reeeeeeeeally timely with its depictions of police harassment and brutality. With all thats going on today with the police and different urban communities this film couldnt have came at a better time.
Now on the note of The performances, They were all off the charts no pun intended. These men brought the emotional weight as well as the bravado and swagger. I at times honestly thought I was watching the real guys play out their careers. They all made you believe. Jason Mitchell gave a fantastic performance as Eazy E. I knew Eazy was talented and repped his hood but I really didn’t know how fierce he was and how no man really scared him. Also didn’t know how funny the guy was. Corey Hawkins was superb as Dr Dre. Surprised to find out there was more to Dre than originally thought. O’Shea Jackson Jr. did his father proud here. He captured his essence, gangsta swagga, really immersed himself as cube both as an NWA member and solo artist. Paul Giamatti and R Marcus Taylor were great as Jerry Heller and Suge Knight respectively. Yellar had a lotta shadiness about him that was interesting to watch while I learned Suge really was quite the loose canon despite being a successful owner and businessman Among the highlights were the origin of “bye Felicia” which had everyone clapping and laughing and the uncanny and scary good portrayal of Snoop Dogg by Keith Stanfield.
Straight Outta Compton is just incredible and so enjoyable. You definitely after seeing it once want to see it again, I know I will!
Image by Imdb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1398426/)