Straight Outta Compton replicates and projects memories to viewers on how resilient rappers such as Andrey “Dr. Dre” Young, O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, and Eric “Eazy-E” Young rose above the discrimination of the era to find new styles of music, hip-hop and rap. They used lyrics to express the brutality that they and the rest of the city were facing in hopes to raise awareness and progress in a movement started by those subjected to the opposing ideas of the higher powers. Over time, the pioneering, ongoing struggles gradually paid off to change hatred to the admiration and appreciation that fans give them now. The rappers depicted in the film are now allowed to reveal their rough journey through Straight Outta Compton because of their efforts, and the efforts of many other activists.
The biopic is about the formation process of the rap group N.W.A., and it exposes the police and societal discrimination of their time against the black community, rappers, and gang members through Ice Cube’s son. During the 1980s, when N.W.A. was forming, cocaine was sneaking its way into popularity, and the police of the area became sensitive to its presence. President Reagan and special organizations were forming to try to overcome the drug, particularly because they thought a side effect of it was violence, especially for people in gangs. However, while they were advising and protecting against drug usage, police took advantage of their power by harassing and pounding any colored people they could find. “Drug possession” was their main excuse to break the individuals and their property. Straight Outta Compton depicts discrimination towards the rappers, gang members, and black folk who were targeted by the authorities during this time, regardless of how they acted legally and morally.
The movie also touches on other concerns of the musicians’ early years, like dealing with AIDS, interference with freedom of speech, murder threats, lawsuits, and even rap music opposers. The issues presented in Straight Outta Compton did affect the prior decades, and unfortunately still are problematic, but each issue’s strength during the 1980s is shown in the presentation and focus of the movie. The director includes gory and graphic cop recreation to both try to reel viewers back to the moments of the era and further emphasize the intense impact of the conditions. Even though the primary plot line is austere, it also unravels a tale of a close-knit friendship bursting through the hate and frustration of the time it is set in. The trailer says that the movie is funny and dramatic at the same time and that it reveals heart-warming aspects of humanity that are peppered with humorous scenes to spontaneously break the severity of the societal events.
Straight Outta Compton depicts discrimination by showing what it was like for rappers like Ice Cube back when he was just starting out. The movie demonstrates that a strong motivational drive comes out of discrimination and morally corrupt ideas and how they can be expressed with action and encouragement. Straight Outta Compton also pinpoints how dangerous some aspects of Ice Cube’s life were, because he was a black rapper in a gang. In the band biopic, he passes his story on to another generation by expressing it through his son, and he gives today’s youth a peek into how society was and how it can be in the future.
By Jarick Roaderick
JoBlo: Review: Straight Outta Compton
The Daily Beast: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Fact-Check: How True Is the Explosive N.W.A. Biopic?
The Verge: Review: Straight Outta Compton Finds New Humanity in Rap Legends
Photo Courtesy of James’s Wikimedia Page – Creative Commons License