N.W.A & Cast Members Open Up About ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Movie [VIDEO]
Nearly 30 years ago, N.W.A was considered to be the “World’s Most Dangerous Group.” Now their story is being told in a biopic called Straight Outta Compton. The film, directed by F. Gary Gray, captures the rise and inner turmoil experienced by N.W.A, the group credited with starting gangster rap, and having inspired a generation of West Coast rappers.
Some of the founding members -- Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella and MC Ren -- and F. Gary Gray, the director of the film, sat onstage for an hour to talk about their film during a live discussion via YouTube on Tuesday (Aug. 11). Also joining them was the actors who portray N.W.A in the film: Jason Mitchell as the late Eazy-E, Corey Hawkins played Dr. Dre, O'Shea Jackson Jr. portrayed his father Cube and Neil Brown Jr. played DJ Yella.
MC Lyte, who moderated the panel, asked Dr. Dre how easy or difficult it was for him to watch his personal life get played out in the movie.
"It was pretty difficult especially the scenes where I'm dealing with the death of my brother [Dre's younger brother Tyree died after being attacked and left with a broken neck]," he said. "It was difficult for me to get past that, because I'm still trying to get over that believe it or not."
During the Q&A, Cube explained why he picked Gray to direct the movie. "What I like about him, is the same thing that Spike [Lee] does for New York [in his films], he makes our [Compton] neighborhoods look beautiful," he said. "Even our dirty areas have a beautiful grit. It's more about the humanity than the hood s--- they can show."
Later in the conversation, MC Ren talked about the importance of N.W.A as a movement not just for Compton but for the entire West Coast.
"At that time, I didn't know how important we were, I just wanted to write rhymes," he stated. "But we stood for so much more. We started representing a city, then we started representing the whole coast."
"We did what we wanted to do. We didn't let the FBI, MTV banning us, no radio airplay, stop us from doing what we wanted to do," interjected DJ Yella.
Near the end of the discussion, Gray told Lyte what he wanted people to get from watching Straight Outta Compton. "I want people to be inspired by the movie," he said. "For some us, it's a trip down memory lane. For some of us, it's a history lesson with great music."
"But at the end of day, we touched on a lot of themes that are universal," he added. "There's tragedy, there's triumph, there's brotherhood, there's a rags to riches story. There's a lot to examine, but I want [moviegoers] to leave inspired."
Cube finally adds, "This movie has everything. It has many layers. Every time you watch the movie, you will peel back another layer and have an appreciation for the piece."
Straight Outta Compton opens in theaters nationwide on Friday (Aug. 14).
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