• James Rutherford

‘Straight Outta Compton’: A Fierce and Dynamic Recapitulation of the Rise of Hip Hop Pioneers N.W.A.


Movie poster for the film Straight Outta Compton starring Corey Hawkins and O'Shea Jackson Jr.

“Straight Outta Compton” (2015) is a fierce and uncompromising recapitulation of the rise of hip hop pioneers N.W.A. in the 1980’s, from the streets of Los Angeles to the heights of fame and infamy as notorious purveyors of “gangsta” rap.


The storyline begins with Andre “Dr. Dre” Young (Corey Hawkins) and O'Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) bonding over their mutual interest in music and shared sentiments toward a society riddled with injustice, police brutality and racism. Ice Cube pours himself into an unbridled form of lyricism that galvanizes Dre and inspires him to convince Eric “Eazy-E” Wright (Jason Mitchell) to fund a startup record label, Ruthless Records. Recruiting DJ Ren (Aldis Hodge) and DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) to complete the formation of the legendary quintet, the group brings on Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) as their manager just as they explode upon the public consciousness with their unique brand of wholly combative rap music.


Directed by F. Gary Gray (“Friday”, “Set it Off”), “Straight Outta Compton” is a searing and provocative historical lesson, as it navigates the many trials and tribulations the group endures: from their fiercely combative fallout with Heller to the incursion of the formidable Marion "Suge" Knight (R. Marcos Taylor) and the tragic demise of Eazy-E. Remarkably potent and entirely infectious, it’s a major shot in the arm for hip hop aficionados as well as more casual fans with an appreciation for boldly dynamic cinema.

 

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