As a California girl, I grew up in the shadow of NWA even though I was absolutely not allowed to listen to Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy E, MC Ren and Yella outside of my headphones. Now the group's biopic Straight Outta Compton is on the way, starring Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson Jr. playing his father, and from the trailer he looks believable.
In theaters August 14, it remains to be seen how far this "gritty" movie will dig into the unpleasant narratives of Los Angeles' seminal hip-hop group, but I hope it shows everything. Nothing is ever gained from cardboard depictions of complicated cultural figures—let 42 be a lesson to all. I expect to see Dre's abusive relationship with singer Michel'le and his attack on TV Host Dee Barnes, which journalist dream hampton was one of the first to cover for The Source magazine in 1991. I expect to see Cube telling the guys that their manager Jerry Heller was shady and that he was leaving the group because of it, and Eazy's struggle with HIV/Aids with all of the early ignorance around the disease. I saw the faux Suge Knight character with his goons beating up something in the trailer, so I have hope that this story may stick to the real. Still, Dre's involvement in the commercial for the biopic makes me think he might not have signed off on the unflattering parts of his story. Hopefully Ice Cube's years in front and behind the camera have changed his mind.