Monday, August 17, 2015

AT THE MOVIES - Straight Outta Compton

"‘Straight Outta Compton’ calls out racial divide that lingers today" PBS NewsHour 8/14/2015


SUMMARY:  The album "Straight Outta Compton" by rap group N.W.A. burst onto the hip hop scene in 1988, evoking the turmoil of gang violence, crack cocaine and poverty and the tension between young black Americans and the police.  A new movie, borrowing the same name, details the rise of those musicians and resonates with ongoing struggles today.  Jeffrey Brown reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  But, first, a new movie opening today revisits a key period in the evolution of hip-hop music, as well as present-day issues of race and justice.

Jeffrey Brown previews “Straight Outta Compton.”

MAN:  You are now about to witness the strength of street violence.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  It was music with attitude, aggressive, angry, sometimes funny, always profane.

The album “Straight Outta Compton” burst on the hip-hop scene in 1988 from the rap group N.W.A.  It described a place reeling from gang violence, crack cocaine and poverty, a war zone between young black men and women and the Los Angeles police.  The new movie, which borrows the album’s name, details the rise of N.W.A.

ACTOR:  What’s N.W.A stand for anyway?  No whites allowed?

ACTOR:  No, Niggaz Wit Attitudes.

JEFFREY BROWN:  The group included D.J. Yella, M.C. Ren and Eazy-E, a drug-dealer-turned-producer and rapper who would die from AIDS in 1995, as well as Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, who’ve gone on to enormous fame and who served as producers for the film.

ICE CUBE, Producer, “Straight Outta Compton”:  It’s been a long, long road, but now is the time.

And I think, you know, America really, really wants this story because it’s really a slice of American history.

JEFFREY BROWN:  The movie, spanning a decade, was directed by Compton native F. Gary Gray.

It shows how N.W.A established itself at a time when New York rap was dominant and how the group responded to its environment, as when its members are detained by police outside a music studio as they’re recording their first album.

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