“Straight Outta Compton” is the debut studio album by American hip-hop group N.W.A (N***** With Attitude) released August 9, 1988 on group member Eazy-E’s record label, Ruthless Records. Dr. Dre with DJ Yella handled production for the album. The album has been viewed as the pioneering record of “Gangsta Rap” with its ever-present profanity and violent lyrics. It has been considered groundbreaking by music writers and has had an enormous impact on the evolution of West Coast hip-hop.
The recent movie covers a lot of ground in recounting N.W.A’s story. It begins and ends on high notes, but it also loses it way in the middle. Overall, this is where “Gangsta Rap” started. It simplifies N.W.A.’s arc to a gangster-movie knock-off about three friends from way back when who were driven apart by bad influences. This eye-opening and ambitious film traces the rise of “Gangsta Rap” pioneers of the N.W.A from its 1986 founding in Compton.
N.W.A was a group that relates things seen and experienced back in the day and in today’s world into their music, and that is what made them who they were and who they have become today, as men and as rappers. They have influenced the generation in their era and the generation after their era to do the same as well.
The rapper’s real life son, O’Shea Jackson Jr, portrays Ice Cube; to me, this was one of the best roles in the entire movie. It is safe to say that watching his son portray that role so well will almost make you think that it is Ice Cube acting as himself in the movie. In a most recent article (Entertainment Weekly), Ice Cube describes the movie as watching his son win the Super Bowl with the team he won the Super Bowl with in real life. The movie is so influential in so many ways that you can’t help but to watch it over and over again because it covers and relates to how the rap industry was and how it is today.
Since the new coming of hip-hop culture, we have seen rappers who don’t set a positive message for their fans. Others have led the way for fans to follow their example, but also go beyond to impress the world and show that everyone matters to them. Hip-hop has come a long way and where it goes from here depends on our current actions, as well as how we look at it.
However, what stands is an amazing, electrifying piece of hip-hop history that speaks urgently right now. If I were a rapper, this would be one of my favorite movies of all time because it breathes life into the original story of a group whose influence is still being felt.
–Tyrone Lewis, Staff Reporter