After years of hype and anticipation, N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton has finally hit theaters. The film based on the group that single handedly thrusted West Coast Hip Hop into mainstream America clearly set some cinematic standards for future rap stories hitting the silver screen. Reviews for Straight Outta Compton have been nothing short of phenomenal at the present moment. And, it’s understandable considering the expertly crafted direction and cast. Like any great film based on musical icons, discussions of things left in and out are inevitable. With that in mind, here are some things the F.Gary Gray directed film covers and flat out misses.
The War On Drug’s Effect On L.A. County
It’s no secret Ronald Reagan’s War On Drugs caused a lot of problems in hoods everywhere from New York to Los Angeles. Straight Outta Compton’s opening scene introducing Eazy E involves a drug deal interrupted by a raid. This includes battering ram tanks that could rip someone’s home to shreds in a matter of minutes.
N.W.A.’s Relation To The Police
There’s a pivotal scene where Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, Eazy E and DJ Yella are harassed by the police while hanging outside of a recording studio. This motivates them to write “Fuck Tha Police” which causes enough controversy to have the FBI send them letters and more even more issues with law enforcement.
How Sinister Suge Knight Actually Was
Suge Knight is an unhinged monster without remorse and played expertly by R. Marcus Taylor. He brutalizes Eazy E into releasing Dr. Dre from his Ruthless records contract, beats one of his employees for parking in his spot and makes someone strip half-way naked. Knight was suppose to serve as Dre’s way of reinventing himself creatively but something darker happened in the process.
What Actually Broke Down N.W.A.
Contractually, Eazy E’s deal with Jerry Heller in regards to Ruthless Records left Dre, Cube, Yella and Ren without much to pocket financially. Cube watching E and Heller eat well while he’s chowing down on a donut starts a chain of events that led to a breakup and disses slung everywhere. If money is the root of all evil, there isn’t a better example.
Ignorance Hip Hop Had About AIDS During That Time
When Eazy realizes he has AIDS after collapsing, the first thing coming out of his mouth is “I ain’t no faggot.” That properly displays how ignorant many in Hip Hop and the community at large were to the epidemic. After Eazy’s death, much needed conversations about the disease began to happen.
Dr. Dre’s Violent Attack On Dee Barnes
Much has been said about how Straight Outta Compton leaves out Dr. Dre’s brutal attack on rap journalist Dee Barnes. Anyone remotely interested in Hip Hop understands exactly how big the story was at the time. The advent of social media brought up these claims forced the Aftermath Entertainment head to address the scandal head on for the first time recently with Rolling Stone Mag.
Dre and Eazy E Post N.W.A. Disses
Once N.W.A. officially broke up, Dre and Eazy both sent savages diss toward one another. The animosity between the two were real. “Dre Day” and “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s” were hard hitters at the time. Before Drake made radio friendly diss records that charted, Dr. Dre had already mastered the art. It was a quite the spectacle at the time.
Tupac Created Created “Hail Mary” After “California Love”
Tupac’s introduction is well acted by Marcc Rose. Almost as if Rose is the embodiment of the late rapper, it only hypes up his long delayed biopic. There’s something chronologically out of order when Pac is seen recording “Hail Mary” before receiving the beat for “California Love” from Dre. The problem is that “Hail Mary” would be apart of Pac’s Don Killuminati era before his death. “California Love” was originally for Dre’s sequel to The Chronic and the first single planned during the early stages of Aftermath allegedly.
DJ Yella & Mc Ren’s Post- N.W.A. Lives Were Downplayed
History is always told by the victors. The narrative arc of Straight Outta Compton is primarily focused on Cube, Dre and Eazy. DJ Yella and MC Ren aren’t given the same kind of follow-up. MC Ren went on to have a semi successful solo career and even release the pretty amazing Shock Of The Hour. Meanwhile, the post-N.W.A. porn career of DJ Yella has become the stuff of legends for many.
Eazy E’s Success With Bone Thugs N’ Harmony Isn’t Highlighted
After N.W.A. breaks up, Eazy is treated as someone down on his luck financially enough to be bagging up weed to make ends meet. While in the hospital room on his death bed, MC Yella gives him a tape featuring Bone Thugs N’ Harmony. The problem is, Bone was already successful and well into making their groundbreaking sophomore follow-up E. 1999 Eternal before Eazy succumbed to AIDS. For heaven’s sake, Eazy is featured on Creepin On Ah Come Up single “For the Love Of Money,” a track Dr. Dre samples on Compton. Commercially, Bone saw better success than N.W.A.