Who’s spending the next few weeks bumpin’ old NWA tunes and watching Straight Outta Compton on a religious basis? If it ain’t you, you better ask somebody! Whether you can only focus on the negative aspects of their profane lyrics, or believe this was a necessity to get them heard by the masses, it cannot be debated that NWA is one of the few music acts that can say they literally changed the world as we know it. That puts them in the echelon of the Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Nirvana just to name a few.
Oscar snub or not, man did that movie invoke an emotional response from me! The first time they put Eric ‘Eazy-E’ Wright in the booth? Epic. Dr. Dre had to have known for a long time that Eazy had a unique voice that begged to be put on a track…he just had to produce it properly. Eazy-E became the unapologetic voice of Generation X for a time, as there were few that could resist reciting that simple first bar, Cruisin’ down the street in my 6 fo. Make sure to pronounce ‘four’ as ‘fo’ when you say it!
Ice Cube and Eazy-E performing Dopeman at the roller skating rink for Jerry Heller’s investors? Epic. That’s one of my favorite NWA songs for one. The simple beat plus Ice Cube’s brash cadence? Hip Hop perfection! It’s great how Jerry Heller brings his all white and predominantly older cadre of hopeful investors to check out his new find. A group, save for the one younger executive in attendance, who have no chance of understanding the impact of such a brash group rocking that roller rink to its foundation! The rousing speech Eazy gives his group before the performance is a look into his simple yet brilliant business mind. Eazy knew that they had to have a cohesive look, as well as a rollicking performance, to impress those investors and “Get this moneeeeeeey!”
Eazy-E finding out he has AIDs with his girlfriend Tomica. Epic. And absolutely heartbreaking! He’d been talking with Ice Cube (after an awesome meeting at a NY night club) and Dr. Dre about getting the old group together just to have their dream cut short by his subsequent health issues and death. Just let that sink in for a minute, they were trying to get an NWA reunion together! That would’ve been so legendary to my young self. These scenes made me understand why they did not use Eazy’s son Lil E to play his father like Ice Cube was able to, since without the proper acting chops those scenes may not have held the emotional weight that Jason Mitchell brought to the part.
Definitely one of my favorite movies of 2015, Straight Outta Compton may not be spot on with all of the facts, (was Eazy really giving Bone Thugs ounces of weed as payment because he was broke?) and may have embellished some involved to superhero status, (when Dre tells Suge that his new label will be called AFTERMATH, I could hear the old Chris Reeves Superman music I swear!) there’s no denying that this was an awesome biographical tale, capturing the attitude and love for one of the seminal music acts (music not just hip-hop!) of my time.