Straight Outta Compton – A Movie With Attitude
Straight Outta Compton follows the rise and fall of the notorious rap group N.W.A. If you are not familiar with the group, you probably know some of the members through their solo-careers, namely Easy-E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre (also MC Ren and DJ Yella).
I have to admit, I was (and still am) a fan of rap music and followed the ’behind-the-music’ storylines of these hip-hop artists very closely growing up. Characters involved in rap music have been extremely entertaining over the years and it has been a ton of fun following this urban soap opera. This is why I was so excited to watch a movie like this. “Notorious”, a movie about the life and death of rapper Notorious B.I.G came out in 2009 – and I absolutely loved it. Now a movie about the group that essentially started all the rap drama – I couldn’t wait!
Here is a quick summary of the plot of this biopic. A group of friends from Compton, California, come together to create rap music using the name N.W.A.. After experiencing tremendous success due to their controversial lyrics and unique sound, the group is introduced to new management - which essentially tears the group apart and the rappers are left picking up the pieces. They ultimately say goodbye to one of the founding members, after years of hard feelings. It’s a pretty basic premise, but it’s all the behind-the-scenes details and recognizable characters jammed into this movie that makes it a gem.
The producers of this movie include Ice Cube, Dr Dre and Tomica Woods-Wright - Easy-E’s widow. It is interesting to have former members of this super group get so involved with the creation of the story of their early lives. It also inspired Dr Dre to create a soundtrack to this movie entitled “Compton”. This collection of all new material is the first time he has released an album since 2000. The creative juices must have been flowing during the writing and filming of this film.
The acting also deserves a lot of credit in making this movie a success. The two performances that stick out in my head are the portrayals of Jerry Heller and Ice Cube. Jerry Heller was the slimy manager that Easy-E hired for the group, who eventually hid money from the group and did not evenly distribute the profits – needless to say, this caused a rift between members of group. Paul Giamatti perfectly captured the conniving, sleazy and ruthless tactics that Heller is known for. The other performance I really enjoyed was O’Shea Jackson Jr’s portrayal of Ice Cube. O’Shea has the advantage of being Ice Cube’s real life son, but the way he captures the drive, activism, rage and pure talent displayed in his father’s early career deserves recognition.
Speaking of recognition, this movie is so widely-acclaimed, that it is hard to find someone that has something negative to say about “Straight Outta Compton”, even non-rap fans. This is why it was such a disappointment when this movie was not recognized in a major category at this year’s Academy Awards. This controversial Oscar snub has been making noise for all the wrong reasons, but the creators of the movie insist they made this movie for the people, not the awards.
As a marketer, I also have to acknowledge this film’s viral marketing campaign. A meme-generator was created (straightouttasomewhere.com) to allow the public to customize the movie’s logo to include their personal hometown overtop of their picture. For instance, mine would say “Straight Outta Stratford” or Execulink’s might say “Straight Outta Woodstock”.
These popular photos started popping up on everyone’s social media feeds with entertaining versions such as “Straight Outta Toilet paper” with a picture of an empty roll or “Straight Outta Money” with rapper 50 Cent’s picture after he declared bankruptcy. Click HERE to see more of these hilarious memes.
Straight Outta Compton is an entertaining movie full of great performances, amazing music and a compelling look at one of the most important times for rap music that both fans and non-fans of the genre will enjoy.
This film is now available on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch.100) from January 19th to June 29th.
Andrew Mustard, Marketing Coordinator
Devoted Leafs fan through the good and the bad - mostly bad. Born and raised in Stratford, Ontario - with more swag than Bieber. Success isn’t a maybe - it’s a must.