Upon arrival to the World Premiere screening of the epic, soon to be released film, “Straight Outta Compton“, the electric ambiance could be felt immediately! The screening, which was held at LA LIVE in Los Angeles, attracted a “Who’s Who of Stars”. Athletes, actors, entertainers, and musicians, all came out in support of this moment in hip-hop history. Anticipation remained high until the moment the lights dimmed in the movie theater. Luminaries from various fields occupied the facility, with one thing on everyone’s mind…NWA.
Race was not an issue. Neither was a persons geographical background. For one night it seemed like the stars above us aligned in perfect order, with the people of the world coming together to hear the story of our West Coast hip-hop Godfathers as the earthly manifestation. “You should have been there” would be an understatement. EA SKI, XZIBIT, DELVIN WEED, ANTHONY ANDERSON, TYRONNE LUE, ASAP ROCKY, COMMON, DJ MUSTARD, BONE, CPO BOSS HOGG, CROOKED I, CRAZY TUNES, and the family of the late great EAZY-E were a small handful of names in attendance. After hours of congregation, it was finally time to see the movie. Waves of people entered the theater. The luminaries gracing the Red Carpet made their way to the theater entrance. It was time.
It is evident in the very first scene of the film that director F. GARY GRAY is taking no prisoners. The scene details EAZY’s pre-NWA days as a drug dealer in Compton. This methodology is present throughout the film. With GRAY delving into the rap group as individuals, as well as a collective. A young Dr. Dre’s strained home life, and THE D.O.C.‘s struggles with alcohol are other examples of how GRAY accomplishes this. Cameos from hip-hop artists like COMPTON MENACE only add spice to this recipe.
Jason Mitchell, who portrays EAZY-E did a great job channeling the essence of the “Barry Gordy of hip-hop”. EAZY-E struggling to learn to rap on beat is a particularly hilarious scene. The portrayals of DJ YELLA (Neil Brown Jr.) and MC REN (Aldis Hodge) are excellent. MC REN’s reaction to first hearing “No Vaseline” is priceless. With that being said, it is obvious that GRAY goes beyond the glory days of NWA. After the money, women, and fun. Seeing ICE CUBE leave NWA is a bittersweet moment ; with evoked feeling of happiness for CUBE’s emancipation, and sadness for the impact his departure had on the group.
The portrayals of DR.DRE and ICE CUBE are amazing. COREY HAWKINS nails DR. DRE. With GRAY expertly navigating us in and out of the evolution of probably the most successful hip-hop artist of all-time. And for those that believed that OMG, ICE CUBE’s son, was going to be a weak link…Think Again! The man delivers a Great performance. The talent obviously runs in the family. He was able to capture not only the visual essence of his father, but also the spiritual essence of ICE CUBE, with OMG seemingly engulfed in the role.
The movie is also able to touch on the source of some of the ills these young inner-city rappers were made to endure…The Police. With the climate very similar in our inner-cities today, this aspect of the movie was not only historically informative, but also very relevant in current times.
Another notable performance was the portrayal of SUGE KNIGHT…and his tyrannical meddling between the era’s of RUTHLESS and DEATH ROW. Portrayals of SNOOP DOGG and TUPAC SHAKUR are also entertaining.
This movie is a must see. Arguably the best hip-hop themed movies of all-time. Upon conclusion of the film, the theater erupted in applause! Naysayers were awed. Supporters were ecstatic. The energy of the crowd when exiting, was equivalent to the energy of the crowd during entrance. Too many times does the hype outweigh the spectacle. But then again, that never was the case with NWA.
The movie hits theaters this Friday, 8/14/2015.
Special shouts out to CeCe the Mamacita of KDAY, Junior, and Guap.
Dj Crazy Tunes