In the late 80’s leading into the 90’s, 5 young men came together and created a group whose music resonates until this day. Owning the image of the streets from which they come, Eazy-E, MC Ren, DJ Yella, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre came together as N.W.A who not only created their own legacy, but dug out a path for the artists themsevles to create their own.
Straight Outta Compton tells this story as accurately as it can, illustrating a group of young African-American men who fought their way out of an institutionalized system.
Strong casting for the film comes in the form of Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr. and Ice Cube’s own son O’Shea Jackson playing his father; it doesn’t start off easy. Instead it jumps in highlighting the backgrounds of these young men who dealt with the likes of surviving off drug-dealing to being a young parent along with the rampant racism surrounding them, and the work they had to put in to come through as one of the most thought-provoking groups for young African-Americans at the time.
Bouncing between their delving into grandeur after finding success with the songs they performed; into their anthem for anti-establishment and passing over to the implosion of the group through betrayal and jealousy, the history lesson Straight Outta Compton teaches is clear in its controlled creative delivery. Respectful of Eazy-E’s input into the group, it does pass over some of their darker pasts which generated strong discussion over the eschewing of such topics.
For the most part though, the film succeeds much like its strong soundtrack. The songs, both from the group and the solo-artists, paint a timeline that sets the film up for a likely sequel, and provides insight into how these “players” came from the streets to become some of the strongest players in the business.
Straight Outta Compton is as straight up as it can be with its story, and lands as a strong biographical tale about influential players in the game of Hip-Hop.