Straight Outta Compton offers fascinating musical, social commentary

By Joe Yamulla || Sports Editor

Straight Outta Compton was a hit that concluded a Summer of good movies.  The film was an absolute box office success that grossed $60,200,180 in its opening weekend alone. 

The movie tells the story of the original bad boys of rap, N.W.A.  The film focuses on the big picture of the rap group from Compton, California.  However, it looks closely into the lives of Eazy E (Eric Wright), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson), and Dr. Dre (Andre Young). 

The film is a gritty account of their tough upbringing in Compton, but it also has a much bigger component.  Straight Outta Compton expresses the unfortunate realities of racial profiling and police brutality that was prevalent in the streets of Compton during the “war on drugs” the LAPD declared on the city during the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

The movie did a fantastic job of showing why N.W.A. wrote such controversial songs at the time.  The film showed that their music and their art was a reflection of the hardships they endured growing up in Compton.  One of the most powerful aspects of the movie was that it showed how important the rap group was because of their influence on American culture.

N.W.A.’s lyrics had shock value, but the movie displayed how important they were in ensuring that every American citizen has a voice.  The movie showed how during that time period in particular, the police racially-profiled just about any African American and treated them as a criminal. This content was hard to watch at times, yet enabled viewers to dive into the minds of the rappers, understand what they’ve been through, and see how their experience were reflected in the music they created.

Straight Outta Compton also spent an appropriate amount of time focusing on the early, pre-fame lives of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy E.  The viewer gained a strong understanding of their early life without losing focus of the group. 

The casting was superb as each actor displayed an uncanny amount of similarities to the person he was portraying.  Also, Dr. Dre created a soundtrack that keeps not only the viewers’ eyes, but also their ears attentive the entire time. 

Along with the hardiness of the Compton Streets displayed, the film has its fair share of heartfelt and even tear-jerking moments.  In order to prevent spoilers, I will not elaborate on these moments that occur throughout the course of the movie.  But, I will say that they make the movie so much more three-dimensional, because they add an emotional aspect that makes the movie come full circle.   

All in all, I absolutely recommend this movie.  The only negative criticisms I could say are first, it would have been better to see a bit more focus on other group members like MC Ren (Lorenzo Patterson) and DJ Yella (Antoine Carraby).  Cube, Dre, and Eazy may have been the most influential members, but the rest of the group was still crucial to their success.  Second, the movie left out Dr. Dre’s past issues of domestic abuse.  Leaving out this major flaw in Dre’s life was apparently a mutual decision among the writers and crew.  However, I feel it was an incredibly dark part of his past that should have been acknowledged in the film in some way.  But, no film will ever be perfect.  So, before it goes out of theatres, go see Straight Outta Compton for yourself.

Joe Yamulla is the Sports Editor. His email is jyamulla@fandm.edu.

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