Mark your calendars for August 14th. The long awaited NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton drops at the end of summer. It will be directed by F. Gary Gray. At one point John Singleton was on the short list of directors for this flick, and was even considered the front runner. But I am actually cool with Gray taking the helm of this movie. The man has an impressive resume with both classic music videos (It Was a Good Day, Natural Born Killaz, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Keep Their Heads Ringin, Waterfalls, Ms. Jackson) and has also had success with the movie game (Friday, Set It Off, The Negotiator, The Italian Job, Be Cool, Law Abiding Citizen). Casting seemed to be an issue because most assumed the sons of the NWA members would play their fathers respective parts. But in the end only Ice Cube's sons. O’Shea Jackson Jr., would play Cube's character. Including O'Shea Jr., most of the cast are relative new comers or unknowns: Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, O'Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube, Aldis Hodge as MC Ren (apparently he plays a character on TNT's Leverage, so..unknown), Neil Brown Jr. as DJ Yella (this dude actually has been in a few flicks, but most would remember him as the Vatos leader, Guillermo, from The Walking Dead) and Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller (probably the most known/accomplished actor in the film).
From the 70s to the 80s hip hop saw a shift from party tracks like Rapper's Delight to introspective storytelling found in The Message. East Coast hip hop started producing emcees like Rakim, KRS ONE, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy, Kool G Rap, RUN D.M.C., and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. But the voice of hip hop was still primarily in the "hood". But the 80s to the 90s gave hip hop a boost to amplify this voice to the rest of America and the world. NWA is an important cog in this phase of hip hop. Before smart phones and the globalization of the news, you had to make a serious effort to find out what was going in the rest of the world, let alone another coast. NWA was a window into a period of American history that is sometimes swept under the rug. Before the trailer starts, Cube and Dre say that now is the time to release this movie because today people are still dealing with the same issues from the 80s. It looks like an interesting movie about not just hip hop history, but American history. Just hope the acting/writing is strong enough the depict NWA's story.
Peep trailer below, yall looking forward to the flick?