by: GABRIELLA GAMBOA/Staff Writer
Sending you into a world of violence, racism and history, “Straight Outta Compton” is unforgettable, an explosive, legendary, entertaining hip-hop biopic that brings you raps about race, drugs and police brutality during the 1980s in Compton, California.
That’s where five black teens known as Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, DJ Yella and MC Ren came together to show their feelings and the way they see the world they live in through N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude). No, these guys didn’t invent rap music or rhymes. But N.W.A sure did make it known.
Director F. Gary Gray did not plan on making these boys seem innocent. Growing up in Compton, these guys lived and were surrounded by only sex, drugs and the “thug” life’ and Gray surely did an amazing job of displaying it.
Matthew Libatique, the movie’s cinematographer, creates outstanding and unbelievable visuals that pull the audience into the brawls and conflicts of these boys’ lives. Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., does a fantastic job of playing the role of his dad. Cube and his really good friend, DJ Andre “Dr.Dre” Young (Corey Hawkins), who talk a drug-dealing, girl-loving Eric “Eazy-E” Wright (Jason Mitchell) into financing a music label known as Ruthless Records. Mitchell’s portrayal of Eazy (who died of AIDS in 1995) is not one he would want to change or lose, especially when he hesitantly, then thrillingly, “spits some rhymes” for their first big hit, “Boyz –n-the-Hood.”
The recording sessions in the studio, also featuring Neil Brown Jr. (Yella) and Aldis Hodge (MC Ren), helped bring the music to life as if it were a real performance. But N.W.A would not have been as popular as they are without Cube’s rap describing the law going against the boys just because of their color and where they are from, “ (Expletive) Tha Police.”
The movie’s major ethical scene is a concert in Detroit where the cops threaten to arrest the boys and everyone affiliated with the group and shut the entire group down if they sing the rap that has made N.W.A known to Middle America. Of course these guys have been threatened all their life, and nothing stopped them before. So there was no way anything was going to stop them now. They proceeded to go against the law, and the crowd began to go crazy.
The vibe throughout this movie is never as strong and powerful as it is in that one revolutionary moment when rap artists and their audience connect. Gray truly did an amazing job of tracing the boys’ successes and major downfalls through the film.
The band’s Caucasian manager, Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), does all he can to cause the boys to fall apart, which sends Cube on his own and Dre into a guilty, dishonest partnership with Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight (R. Marcos Taylor). Heller’s instigating actually helped the guys realize what life truly had in store. They not only find the right path outside of Compton, but they also find themselves.
“Straight Outta Compton” shows the power that N.W.A can bring when it comes to their freedom of speech and knowledge of Compton.
Could this movie be changed in any way? Could you take out the violence and gang life to make this a family-friendly movie? Of course, you could. But what fun would that be? Where is the history, the excitement? The result is a piece of life-changing hip hop history that could never be described in words. You just have to watch it to understand its righteousness. I give this historical, revolutionary film 5 out of 5 stars.