Straight Outta Compton (2015) NWA biopic – Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton gives us the basic origins of the group N.W.A.’s three most well-known members, Dre, Cube, and Eazy-E, the latter of whom would turn some of the money he accrued while drug-dealing into launching his own record label, Ruthless Records, and made it a local success. Their radio buzz puts them on the radar of music talent manager Jerry Heller, who impresses on them that he has the chops in the business to take them to the next level of success, securing a record deal to give them national distribution, but also perhaps led to their eventual break-up, as contracts are signed but money never seems to flow in ways that smack of fairness. From there, the biopic deals with the group’s controversy, particularly in their impassioned call to rise up against police brutality in “F— Tha Police”, as well as their lyrics that are called out for glamorizing the gangster lifestyle to their predominantly young listeners. Other threads include Cube’s leaving the group to go solo, Dre eventually doing the same after one more album (from the frying pan to the fire of Los Angeles thug mogul Suge Knight), and Eazy-E’s contraction of AIDS, which would take his life before a proposed reunion of the group, this time on their own terms, could take place.