When I went to see Straight Outta Compton, the new movie about Rap group NWA, I knew it would be an interesting piece of music history, but I had no idea how exciting and motivating it would be. This is not just a movie about rap, this is a movie about perseverance. Even if you're not a fan of "Gangsta Rap", you can still enjoy this movie.
First, let me tell you that Straight Outta Compton is 147 minutes long, that's right almost 2 and a half hours, but... it doesn't feel like it at all! When it ended I was really disappointed that it was over. Now, that could be the nerd in me that needed to know more about Dr. Dre and the rest of NWA, because I certainly went home and did more research, but even my husband said that it didn't seem like that long. It moves fast through the rise of NWA, the challenges they faced, and ultimately ends with Dr. Dre walking away from Death Row records. It is a movie full of drama, and of course hard hitting beats, and I loved it!
When NWA was popular, I was starting High School. I wasn't a huge fan, but I knew plenty of people that were. I didn't pay much attention to the lyrics then, I just thought they were cool and I liked the beats. My parents hated them and that made me want to listen even more.
Seeing the movie, now and looking back on that time, I realize what an impact these boys from Compton had. To those of us that were not living with daily violence in our community, it was just music, but to people feeling the oppression of society it was so much more. It was a movement to stand up for what you believe in, and to use your voice. NWA was telling the real story of what their lives were like. It wasn't sugar coated, it was brutal and honest and in a language that was relatable to the people living it.
Songs like "F*ck Tha Police" were not just cries for violence against organization without reason, it was the outcry of someone that had reached his breaking point. There is only so much a person can take before deciding to fight back. Ice Cube used his words to fight back rather than choosing violence as his oppressors were doing. This movie tells that story.
It also tells the story of how Dr. Dre took an idea, developed it, and built not just one but multiple record labels because of his drive to succeed. Both Dre and Ice Cube had to make difficult decisions in order to achieve their dreams and do it in a way that they felt was right. For Ice Cube this meant walking away from $75,000 and for Dre, it was walking away from entire companies and all the money that he had put into them.
I never expected to find so much positivity and motivation from a movie about "Gangsta Rappers", but after watching everything they went through and knowing how much they achieved, I can't help but feel energized. We all have challenges that we face in life, but how we deal with them and what we learn from these challenges is what determines how successful we are.
Straight Outta Compton is a great story that will resonate with many and may even leave you motivated to face the challenges you've been given with confidence and optimism.
But, don't bring the kids! It is rated R for more than just language. You are seeing the lifestyle that they led with drugs, violence, and sex.
Disclosure: I attended a free screening of this film for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.