The controversial and highly successful rap group N.W.A are still having a huge effect on the world. The group from Compton in Los Angeles released their first album ‘Straight Outta Compton’ 27 years ago that eventually went on to storm America’s charts and caused no ends of controversy. Their expressive lyrics that cover police brutality that was becoming widespread through America during the late 80’s and early 90’s. Over 25 years later, we have biographical film about the powerful rap group and I don’t think anyone expected the film to be so well received and to be become the box-office king in August.
‘Straight Outta Compton’ covers the drama infused careers of N.W.A; we are all introduced to the characters in the film in descriptive bite size chunks, but enough to engage with these characters and understand their background. The struggle is evident from the get go for these characters, if it isn’t the disgusting use of police brutality in the streets of Compton on the black community, it’s the choice of pursuing a dream in DJ’ing and having a normal job to cover his bills for his child and mother in Dr.Dre. Eventually, the group all come together and become Eazy-E and N.W.A. Signed up on a label through their manager Jerry Heller (played by the brilliant Paul Giamatti), the group go through testing times in their time together for their first album. The special treatment of Eazy-E was evident by Jerry Heller and the rest of the group struggled to get a stunning contract that Eazy-E received. Ice Cube was the stand out person that didn’t agree with the contract situation, mainly because of his huge involvement in the album.
‘Straight Outta Compton’ is already a huge success worldwide and it’s easy to see; director F Gary Gray has delivered an energetic, thrill inducing powerhouse of a film. Let alone it being a biopic, as a standalone story, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is powerful with its punch. The biggest reason for this in my opinion is the involvement of Ice Cube and Dr.Dre as producers. Not only were the rap group heavily covered in music news, they were on all the news channels being interviewed about their controversial lyrics and taking America by storm. The whole acting ensemble provides worthy performances, but my stand out performance is Jason Mitchell’s as Eazy-E. By far the most interesting story of them all is Eazy-E’s; dropping out of the 10th grade to sell drugs at a young age and then to become a global sensation only a few years after are only a few points to show the ruthless and unpredictable roller-coaster life of the charismatic rapper.
Like all films, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ has its flaws, but surprisingly, not a lot. Running at 2 and a half hours, it’s definitely a film that may be missed from the neutral due to its excessive running time but it also plays a positive to the fans of the group like myself as we dive even deeper into the roots and core of the story of the group. Off the top of my head, that’s the only bad point I can think of for the film. Not only is this a great musical biopic, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is raw, angry and incredibly fresh; and for me, that’s job done. The film has done incredibly well to carry on the power of the group over 20 years ago and inject a film with that passion and energy. 4 out of 5 stars.