Directed by F. Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen, The Italian Job) Straight Outta Compton, so named for the smash debut album of the rebellious hip hop group NWA in the late 1980s, is in many ways as raw and powerful as its namesake. It is a dark film that does not hide its true intentions – to tell the story of a group of young men that changed the world – for better or worse.
Premise: NWA emerges from the tough streets of Compton in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture. Result: A tale filled with energy and tragedy that must be seen and heard.
Before they were NWA, the five young men that founded the group – Eazy E (Jason Mitchell), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) – were just that, young men. They were dealers and DJs, drop outs and poets, homeless and unwed fathers, but if nothing else, somehow hopeful. This despite living in Compton, a neighborhood synonymous with drugs, danger and death.
But these men came together due to personal drive and burgeoning talent and coupled with Eazy E’s drug money founded Ruthless Records and NWA was born. The first half of the film chronicles the rise and climax of this group and is as fast-paced and energetic as it is powerful in its exploration of racial injustice and the need for this musical rebellion.