Recently, media caught up with director F. Gary Gray who is in the pre-production stages of his next film, the N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton. Gray discusses what he hopes his film will achieve.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, hip-hop was centered on the East Coast, predominately in New York. All that changed when Niggas With An Attitude (N.W.A.) burst on the scene with their debut album, Straight Outta Compton in 1988. Labeling themselves, “the World’s Most Dangerous Rap Group,” Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young and Antoine “MC Yella” Carraby, didn’t create gangsta rap but became it’s biggest proponents and pushed the limits on free speech in rap music.
While the group with it’s core member were only active from 1986-1991, they enjoyed a partial reunion in the late 1990s. Several of their members enjoyed legendary status after leaving the group. Eazy, who reportedly financed his label, Ruthless Records with profits from the drug game, died from A.I.D.s-related complications in 1995. Both Ren and Yella would fade to the background but the group’s chief lyricist, Ice Cube and it’s producer, Dr. Dre become household names.
Straight Outta Compton video
Cube left the group in a nasty royalty dispute fight (he once alledged that he was only paid $35,000 for Straight Outta Compton), and initially found huge success as a solo artist and later as an film actor and producer (Boyz ‘N the Hood, Barbershop and Are We There Yet?). He is regarded one of the greatest lyricists and MC in hip-hop history as one of the greatest storytellers in the game.
While Cube enjoyed success sliding effortlessly between music and films, Dre. left the group and co-founded the legendary hip-hop label, Death Row Records with Suge Knight. Dre released his classic album, The Chronic and later discovered both Snoop Dogg and later Eminem producing classic albums with each artist as well as recording and producing Tupac Shakur. With his patented G-Funk sound, Dre literally anchored the West Coast on the hip-hop in the mid-90s until the emergence of Nas, The Notorious B.I.G. and later Jay-Z.
Dre, Cube, Ren and Snoop Dogg briefly reunited and there was talk of a new N.W.A. album but despite several hit singles, an album never came to fruition. Now, 25 years later, Gray is preparing to bring their dynamic story to the big screen in 2013.
As a HUGE fan of the group, here’s hoping that this biopic maintains the incredible attitude that made these “boyz ‘n the hood” so powerful!!!
F. Gary Gray discussing Straight Outta of Compton movie