The reviews so far have been great, Dr. Dre has already dropped his well-received companion album, and Variety.com predicts the F. Gary Gray-directed “Straight Outta Compton” is will open to over $40 million on box office receipts this weekend. Made on a $29 million budget, “Compton” is already looking like the sleeper hit of the summer.
According to thegrio.com, director Gray (“Friday”, “Set It Off”, “The Italian Job”) teamed up with remaining members of the historic west coast rap group, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, Dre and MC Ren, (Eazy-E died in 1995) to tell the ups and downs of their incredible story. The film, named for the title track on N.W.A.’s 1988 debut album, stars Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube), as well as Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E), Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre), Neil Brown Jr. (DJ Yella) and Aldis Hodge (MC Ren).
A large part of the appeal of the film that is reaching beyond the built-in fanbase of N.W.A. is the timeliness of the subject and subject matter in the wake of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and continued revelations and exposés of nationwide police brutality and racism. While “F**k The Police” stirred controversy when initially released, today it can be heard as prescient protest.
When asked how N.W.A. would respond to the social commentary of today, Gray thinks the revolutionary rap group would respond to #BlackLivesMatter similarly to how they reacted to what they were experiencing nearly 30 years ago. “Probably the same way they did back then. They were pretty frustrated. They spoke their mind,” he said. “They were honest about it, and I think they would respond the same way. ‘Hey listen it’s time to change. It’s time for a change.’”
When it comes to hip-hop artists today, Gary, as well as Ice Cube, DJ Yella and O’Shea Jackson Jr., feel fellow Compton native Kendrick Lamar is truly influential and follows closely in the big footsteps that N.W.A. created.
“It’s hard to duplicate N.W.A., but I like what Kendrick Lamar is doing,” said Gary. “I like what J. Cole is doing. These guys are conscious, and at least I know Kendrick is from the streets of Compton and stuff like that, so they’re authentic. And I think a lot of that comes from the N.W.A. or at least era.”
Straight Outta Compton opens in theaters this Friday, August 14. Check out the trailer below:
article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)