Movie Review: Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton posterNormally I don’t write movie reviews for movies that aren’t an adaptation of a book, but I feel compelled to review Straight Outta Compton because it blew me away. I was a fan of NWA and other gansta rap acts in high school and college but I didn’t know too much about the behind the scenes goings on. This movie covers when NWA first came together in 1986 up through the early 90s.

NWA is probably most known for their song F*ck the Police. The movie shows the tension between the police and the black community at that time and the racism that the group members individually experienced that led to Ice Cube writing this song. If you can get over the shock of the song’s title and listen to the lyrics, you’ll realize that not much has changed, especially recently with the Black Lives Matter movement and the incidents that inspired its creation.

I was surprised at how emotional I felt watching this movie. From the incidents of racism to the group’s relationship with each other and their manager. Tears were streaming down my face towards the end. My husband was not a fan of gansta rap or NWA and told me that not everyone knows of the tragedy that made me cry – he didn’t for sure – so I won’t spoil it for you.

The casting in this film was great. Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., plays him. Not only is he a great actor, he looks just like his father- especially later in the film when he doesn’t have Jehri curls anymore. Corey Hawkins plays Dr. Dre and the resemblance is uncanny.

The one criticism I have is that the movie didn’t go deep enough. A lot of events were left out or skimmed over. But here’s the thing, a lot happened to NWA and to the gansta rap genre that they were instrumental in creating. The industry was one big soap opera. The movie is already two and a half hours long. It would have to be a mini-series to get everything in. Or a separate biopic for each artist. As is, I think what the writers and director have chosen to highlight are the right things.

I felt so nostalgic driving home from this movie. I wanted to get out my old CDs and listen to them. Then I remembered that small children live in my house and there’s a reason why those CDs are packed away! Someday…

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    I know very little about gangsta rap or NWA so I don’t know if this is for me.

  • S.G. Wright

    I heard this movie is good. Thanks for your review. I dont know NWA’s music or follow rap but I’d be interested in checking out the movie.