Summer Movie Review: Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton- By: Gabrielle E. Garcia / Staff Writer

Music groups become legendary when they resonate with their audiences in a way that other groups simply cannot. These groups deliver a message so poignant that it’s difficult to ignore. In 1988, amid severe tensions between the African-American and the dominant white community, five talented artists united to record a few songs reflecting the struggles and joys of being poor and black in the inner city. Little did they know that their efforts would later forge a new musical genre and spawn the solo careers of some of the most successful and iconic artists in rap history.

N.W.A. not only took the record industry by storm with their double-platinum debut, “Straight Outta Compton,” but they also captured the attention of racially diverse audiences and even of the federal government. One of their songs led to an FBI letter requesting that the group refrain from “inciting” violence against the police. However, the group claimed to simply reflect the daily struggles and injustices they encountered in their community.

Now just three decades later, their biopic “Straight Outta Compton” has conquered the film charts, grossing $56.1 million dollars in its opening weekend and reaching a new generation. Once again, N.W.A.’s story resonates with a largely diverse audience by telling a riveting and inspirational story of passion, truth, and perseverance when the odds suggest otherwise.  

The film, which begins in the mid 1980’s in Compton, California—once dubbed the “murder capital of the US”—depicts the earlier years of N.W.A.’s group members O’Shea Jackson (Ice Cube), Andre Young (Dr.Dre), and Eric Lynn Wright (Eazy-E), and their rise to fame during one of the most tumultuous and painful moments in modern African-American history.

The film eloquently transitions from the mid 1980’s to late 1980’s and early 90’s showcasing not only the talent and the passion exerted by the rap group, but also the unjust realities that inspired N.W.A.’s controversial and inflammatory lyrics. Viewers might even notice the similarities between police and community tensions during the early 90s and the present.   

With superb acting from the entire cast (there’s even a 2pac doppelganger), the film “Straight Outta Compton” captures the essence of the rap group’s attitude and perseverance—even with internal turmoil—while showcasing the very reason behind N.W.A’s seemingly brutally honest lyrics. “Straight Outta Compton” is both a history lesson and a story of passion, struggle, musicality and artistry and most importantly how one falls and unquestioningly rises to any occasion. In the end, the film’s message of hope amid hopelessness will continue to capture the imagination of a new generation striving to overcome the injustices perpetrated by past generations and domineering institutions.  

All in all: 5/5

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