“Straight Outta Compton”, which opens this weekend, is predicted to be one other box-office hit for Common Footage. Pregame for the biggest bio-flick of the year by browsing this playlist of ten crucial NWA artifacts, all easily accessible through YouTube. “Ain’t nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain’t no big thing-I just threw her through a door”, explained Dr. Dre. (Or, perhaps his producers steered him in a different direction.) Halfway through, he seems to decide that what audiences really want to see in an N.W.A. biopic is label contract disputes. While only 13 reviews are registered so far, the film is now sporting a shocking 93% on Rotten Tomatoes – a score that includes a critique from our very own Nick Romano (who credited the movie for having solid first and third acts, and a bit of a dip in the middle).
When asked how N.W.A. would respond to the social commentary of today, Gary said, “Probably the same way they did back then”.
We (were) sick of these people telling us what to do, Ice Cube said. It holds up surprisingly well.
With new protests and arrests in Ferguson dominating the headlines Tuesday morning, DJ Yella said the issues N.W.A rapped about are as urgent as ever. The song was Eazy’s first real pass at being a MC. Deadly violence has erupted at theaters in a few states, including the 2012 massacre by James Holmes, who killed 12 people and wounded 70 others in Aurora, Colorado. (DJ Yella) and Aldis Hodge (MC Ren). It’s a timely reminder, given that, in the 20 years since, we’ve all allowed the rallying cry “F*** tha Police” to devolve into a lily-livered plea that we have our hands up, so please don’t shoot.
Cube and Dre started making music together in the mid-1980s, as the crack epidemic was overtaking urban Los Angeles. Lyrically, though, it’s largely a condemnation of censorship and hypocrisy. N.W.A’s founding members Dr. Dre (Andre Young) and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) co-produced the film. The fast-paced video mostly highlights a block party, but also features Dre, wide-brimmed-hatted, on a horse in plantation fields, and concludes, incongruously, with him getting sent to the electric chair. Their album Straight Outta Compton had already made them an L.A. legend and a national outrage-there was a lot of moralistic clucking about them in the media-and even on a Thursday night in notoriously conservative Orange County, the now defunct Celebrity Theatre was packed with a crowd more racially diverse than you might have expected.
With a skywriter above his head giving the Doc props for his latest album – which debuted at #2 – Dre hung out with some friends Monday at his crib in the ‘Bu…no doubt toasting the record and pre-partying for the “Straight Outta Compton” premiere.
“If you’re saying it’s Compton, I don’t care what part of Winnipeg or what part of Toronto you found. It don’t look like Compton“.