N.W.A.’s biopic, Straight Outta Compton hits theaters today, but will the film be as successful as the movie’s PR campaign?
Straight Outta Compton retells the dramatic story of the birth of hip-hop music and culture. When Los Angeles hip-hop group N.W.A. first landed on the music scene in the late 1980s, gangsta rap was introduced to the world.
The film is a raw look at the rise of the notorious music group, comprised of five tough, yet talented young men – producers Dr. Dre and DJ Yella, as well as rappers MC Ren, Ice Cube and Eazy-E.
The movie demonstrates how the band mates’ attitudes were a reflection of their rough upbringing in the crime-ridden city of Compton, a life filled with drugs, senseless murders, street gangs, police brutality and racial profiling.
N.W.A. was one of the first groups to acknowledge racism within the police force as it pertains to the African-American community. Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop described their police defying lyrics saying, “This kind of counter-cop resistance music existed before N.W.A, but N.W.A gave it its name.”
The film depicts vulnerable moments of friendship and brotherhood amongst the group, as well as musical beefs, business dealings with manager Jerry Heller and menacing incidents involving former bodyguard Suge Knight, who would later go on to co-found Death Row Records with Dr. Dre.
Ice Cube, one of the movie’s producers, admits that the road to making the film was rough, saying, “It was hard to get the financing that we needed, to license all the music we needed, to also get a studio behind the movie that wouldn’t treat it like a typical hip-hop biopic. Then you had calls and threats from Jerry Heller to Suge Knight, so it just was a mountain.”
Dr. Dre eventually joined the project signing on as a producer, a decision that took over 11 years to reach.
When the pioneering album Straight Outta Compton was released in 1988, it went double platinum. Now movie execs are hoping for the same result with the film’s debut.
But we’re wondering if the film will be as successful as its promotional hashtag? The hashtag that went viral last week with over 100,000 shares, allowed users to insert their own home city using a #straightoutta_____ meme. A number of celebrities jumped on board utilizing the meme on Twitter and Instagram. Many parody memes circulated the Internet poking fun at stars like Iggy Azaela, Kobe Bryant and even Jesus with #StraightOuttaNazareth.
Although, Straight Outta Compton‘s official release date is today, the film has already received an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed nearly $5 million following its soft opening Thursday night in 2,264 theaters nationwide.
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