Let me set the scene…It’s a dark, cold, wet evening. 6 guys look across at each other in a car park…then simultaneously they all look at up at the bright advertising screen which display the words ‘Straight Outta Compton’, knowing that history has been made! But this isn’t N.W.A, this is me and my 5 friends about to watch the critically acclaimed film which everyone has been hyping about, what I wanted to know was…would it live up-to the hype?
After the pre drinks and a quick selfie with us all throwing up W’s (Obviously)…it’s time..we head into the cinema like 6 excited school kids, a quick stop off for some popcorn then we go to take our seats…at this point I would like give a massive Big Up to the Meerkats for the hook up on the 2-4-1 tickets!
Looking around the cinema I see a lot of what can only be described as ‘hip hop fans’….You know what I mean…young to middle aged guys with baggy jeans and baseball caps….to my far right I have a guy sitting alone with a ‘Chronic’ T shirt (and bloodshot eyes), and behind me there are what look like two 18year olds sporting some NICE J’s!! Couldn't help but think to myself…these guys are surely too young to know about Jordan…let alone N.W.A? Maybe thats the beauty of Hip Hop culture…it’s timeless and appeals to all walks of life and all ages!
Then the film starts…I can honestly say I haven't been so engrossed in a film for a LONG time. Throughout the whole 2hours and 30minutes of the film, I sat either wide eyed or bobbing my head along to it’s classic soundtrack!
Firstly let me talk about the film as a whole. It’s everything you would expect from a film about Hip Hop and Hip Hop culture..Great music, a bit of debauchery, and a little violence thrown in for good measure (not to suggest that is what Hip Hop is about though, well not anymore anyway), One word sums it up for me…Sick! (Thats a good sick).
For those who don't know anything about the rap group N.W.A, don't be put off, this film explains EVERYTHING…and when I say everything, I mean exactly that! From finding out how they came to be a collective, through to how they ended up parting ways…we learn about beef with Suge Knight, through to learning how Ice Cube came to be the solo artist and film writer he is today, through to how Death Row and Aftermath records came about, very little is left out. As someone who grew up on listening to Dre, Cube, Snoop and Pac, I found it all fascinating. (Seeing as I have just mentioned Pac…watch out for the scene he is in…If you didn't believe he was really dead…you DEFINITELY won’t after that!)
Sure some scenes were probably exaggerated a little, and I'm sure not all events happened as is portrayed in the film…but we expect that right? We have been fortunate enough to be given an little insight into the lives of up and coming Hip Hop artists from when they were nobody’s through to blowing up and becoming the legends that they are today. With ‘Ice Cube’ and ‘Dre’ and Eazy E’s widow ‘Tomica Woods-Wright’ being among the producers, I cant help but feel that this is as close to what happened as we will ever know.
The actors did the characters justice, namely O’shea Jackson Jr…Ice Cubes actual son who plays him in the film, maybe I singled him out because of the uncanny similarity in looks, or maybe its because he was actually THAT good! Corey Hawkins as Dre, Jason Mitchell as Eazy E were on point..Aldis Hodge as MC Ren was good, but had a limited role..I’ll come back to that later…and Neil Brown as DJ Yella was solid. As I understand it, they held open auditions to find the characters for this film, and this led to a delay in starting filming, but It was definitely worth the wait, to ensure they had the right people. With the wrong actors, the film could have quickly fallen into the ‘Straight Outta the DVD section at the pound store’ category, But that was never going to happen. With a budget of over $28 million, to date, the film has grossed over $189.9 million worldwide, making it the all time highest grossing film with a black director in the united states, proving that the people feel that N.W.A are as relevant now as they were then
The making of the film wasn't without its controversy though. TMZ reported that just 7 days into filming in Compton, there was a drive by shooting which took place in front of the cast and crew members whilst they were on set. No one affiliated with the film was hurt or injured, but one civilian near the set was shot. Despite this, filming continued. In January 2015, Suge Knight was involved in a hit-and-run incident which left one man dead and another hospitalised, the man who died was Terry Carter, co-founder (along with Ice Cube) of Heavyweight Records. The incident took place after an argument on the set of ‘Straight Outta Compton’.
Due to concerns surrounding the violent content of the film, it was reported that movies theatres in the US hired extra security during the films opening weekend…NO Major incidents were reported that weekend though. One incident which did take place though, was ‘MC Ren' voicing his displeasure about how little a role is character had in the film. He wrote on twitter ‘Man F**k these b*****s at universal pictures leaving me out the movie trailers trying to rewrite history’, after the release of the film he once again took to twitter and said ’True fans know my role in the group as far as lyrics are concerned, don't let the movie fool you about my contribution to the group’
Despite all of the controversy surrounding the film, it has been well received by critics and continues to run in cinemas and theatres world wide. So if (for some crazy reason) you haven't yet managed to see the film..my advice is do it, you wont be disappointed.
Oh and for those of you who have been seeing the ‘Straight Outta’ personalised photos…check out www.straightouttasomewhere.com and do your own now…a clever bit of promo by beats who came up with this FREE app to promote the film.
So what do I score the film?? On a Hip Hop scale of 0-10 (0 Being Vanilla Ice, and 10 Being 2Pac), I'm giving it a Snoop Dogg/2Pac (That’s 9/10).