I spent my childhood listening to alt pop, folk, and innumerable hours of NPR. I like background music at the grocery store, but that’s the extent of my taste. A movie of the band that popularized gangsta rap – the more violent and explicit cousin of rap – wouldn’t naturally be on my radar. But then the library recommended it. A recommendation I can now wholeheartedly confirm. Straight Outta Compton has brotherhood, betrayal, and the story of America’s transition from the violent 80s to the sanitized 90s. Not convinced? The following accurately describes my reaction to this movie of our times, a real time review for Special Correspondent Perel, written as I watched and my later commentary.
Watching Straight Outta Compton
Easy E isn’t going to make it, is he?
Actually no, but he will survive his days as a small-time drug dealer
Dr Dre looks so young
He was in his early 20s, so that’s an accurate portrayal
Things are not going well in Compton
Understatement of the 90s. Compton was a stronghold of the crack epidemic, used as a distribution center thanks to its proximity to the LA airport. In 1991, there were 87 gang-related homicides – about 1% of the population.
Ice Cube is so clean. Except for his language
Who is DJ Yella
Founding member of NWA
Is DJ Ren going to become part of Run DMC
No, wrong rap band
Oh, that’s who this movie is about!
NO, WRONG BAND
Easy E is the money behind the operation
Being a drug dealer is lucrative, at least until you get shot or jailed
No no the subject of the movie is NWA
Yes, that’s the rap band you meant
I remember now because Dad initially couldn’t get behind them because everyone was saying the NWA was an acronym for No Whites Allowed and he couldn’t agree with the racism. But turns out it’s actually for Niggaz Wit Attitudes. So now we’re chill.
I think I may have confused Ice Cube and Vanilla Ice. Or maybe Ice T.
So close, but so far
One of them was The Dating Game and adorable. I don’t think Ice Cube was ever adorable.
Ice Cube is outta there
Ice Cube left the band over a contractual dispute but went on to have a successful and lucrative career. Especially impressive because he was still a teen and barely out of high school at the time.
It’s like NWA leaves a path of violence. Or maybe they follow one?
Both. Their song F*** tha Police was a response to the violence perpetrated by the police in their hometowns of Compton and South Central LA. But the police aggression was department policy at the time given the nature of armed drug dealers who worked those towns. The gangs had enough firepower to overwhelm a small country, so police preferred to patrol in tanks rather than cop cars. The song, calling out the police for their aggression, is blamed for aggression and rioting against the police.
Snopp Dogg is here
Everyone who’s anyone in the West Coast rap scene worked with one or all of NWA at some point
Why is there a man eating a dog and a naked person cowering under the table?
Because Dr Dre got mixed up with Suge Knight after leaving NWA, due to a contractual dispute, and Suge encouraged such behavior
How do these rappers come off as so naive?
The hood gives you street experience but not business sense
Oh no Easy E is gonna die
I love that they made a movie and everyone is played by an actor who looks like a normal person except the guy who plays Dr Dre – who is helping run the project. Also, he discovered Eminem.
I just checked and Dre’s not that handsome in real life
Does anyone ever drink out a cup?
Not in this movie. It’s about rap, not manners.
They’re always swigging out of bottles. Though never vodka. Guys have got taste.
Interesting how the movie portrays all the gangstas as honest, if violent
Only the victors write history
But the white man is evil
Their manager, not all white men
How is everyone so knowledgeable about contacts and first amendment rights? This, they get from inner city public schools?
Someone is doing something right
He’s dead but trying to prevent HIV
Easy E: proving that being a rapper can be more dangerous than being a rapper who deals drugs
Dr Dre is taking a stand
Also, raking in the dough
How come I don’t remember the rap revolution
Because I hadn’t yet started kindergarten
I was confusing Cuba Gooding with Ice Cube. It all makes sense now.