The List

10 Things They Got Right In “Straight Outta Compton”

straight outta compton

Straight Outta Compton has finally been released this weekend. Did you see it? Well, if not, this is going to be a spoiler-filled list. Straight Outta Compton tells the true story of how these cultural rebels-armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent-stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world’s most dangerous group. In biopics, some things are going to be inaccurate, and we can only hope they get more right than they get wrong. But what did the cast and F. Gary Gray get right in this movie? What did we love? What made us stand up and say “fuck yes!”?

10. Eazy-E

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Jason Mitchell probably gives the best (or at least my favorite) performance in the film. “It’s less about the scale and more about the emotion,” Mitchell says. “More about the impact and the feeling and the reaction to the Rodney King verdict. I wouldn’t say it was overly massive. Hopefully it makes the audience experience what it felt like… the disappointment.” Of the N.W.A. members, Mitchell was the only one who couldn’t meet the man he was playing. Doesn’t matter, because he nails his charisma and mannerism, as well as everything else about him. The story is building on E’s illness after the 2nd half, and he kind of becomes the heart of the film, even though he was throughout the entire thing.

9. Ice Cube

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Everything about Ice Cube is on point in the film, Jr. did his daddy proud. Cube is definitely the most militant of the group, who veers off on his solo career and exercises his right to say whatever he wants. The bravado and attitude is all there on the screen, and Jr. Of course, he nails the famous scoul.

8. The Industry

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The music industry is a tough business, and that is illustrated very well with the character of Jerry Heller, the groups manager. Throughout the first half of the film, Cube is wondering where the rest of the contracts are, since E was the only one to sign one. Finally realizing that everyone else in the group had already signed theirs, and he was the last one to do so. Everyone but E was getting ripped off. How else were they going to pay for the tour busses and hotel rooms? Sad state of affairs but it’s reality. All of that glitz and glamour ain’t free.

7. The Time Period

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Everything from the cars, the clothes they were wearing to the jheri curl juice dripping from their heads. The film essentially takes place from about ’86 to about ’95.

6. Cube’s Solo Career

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We see N.W.A. break up in the movie, Cube ends up leaving due to the contract BS Jerry was being sneaky about. He sets up shop with Priority Records and creates AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted – and does destroy the office of the label owner with a baseball bat when he isn’t given the money he was promised.

5. “F*ck Tha Police”

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The boys are harassed outside of the recording studio by cops. Right after going back inside, Cube shows E the lyrics to the song and thus, it was born. According to the movie. In his memoir Ruthless, Jerry Heller describes a scene similar to the one outside the recording studio, called Audio Achievements. “‘On your knees, hands behind your neck,’ one officer said, approaching Yella … with a bit more energy, the other cop began barking orders at Eazy and Dre. I was befuddled. ‘What’s going on?’”. But Ice Cube had the concept for Fuck tha Police long before Dre was on board, despite Dre’s own frustrations with law enforcement. Regardless, he wanted to write the song because he was fed up with police bullshit.

4. Humor & Camaraderie

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From Dre, Ren, Yell and Cube laughing at how badly E was trying to rap for the first time on mic, to them creating the songs for Straight Outta Compton, the film captures the youthful energy these guys had to have had. There is quite a bit of humor to go around in the film, much of it comes from Cube and his personality, a lot of comes from E for the same reasons. The filmmakers even snuck in what will probably be the best joke in the entire film, and one that is already classic and memorable, thanks to the movie Friday.

3. Corrupt Law Enforcement

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Though the film never shows any police officer gunning anybody down, they are still nonetheless racist and corrupt as hell. The famous LA riots are depicted, and it hauntingly resembles Ferguson/Baltimore in almost every capacity. That tension is something that lingers all throughout the film.

2. The Music

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The actors were never really performing any of the classic songs live, rather just lip syncing, but how the music was handled outside of that was very well done and effective. There is not a whole lot of orchestral score being used in the film, most of it is source music. But maybe some will prefer that the actors lip synced, preserving the original audio of the N.W.A. tracks. We get to see Cube in the studio recording “No Vaseline,” and that is just as entertaining as you would hope it to be.

1. They Really Were N.W.A.

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With real attitude. They’re outlook on life, and approach to music and self expression was made very clear.

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