‘Straight Outta Compton’ is a film that has captured hearts and minds, one that in the 80’s no mainstream media outlet that despised ‘Gangsta Rap’, could ever have predicted would have been made, least of all become an Oscar contender.
In case you hadn’t heard, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ the film is here and its coming to cinema’s across the world. Although much of the pre-release hype in the media may appear to have centred around Dr Dre, the ‘Compton’ album release, the Beats/Apple deal and the products of the genius of Dre which spawned the era of Death Row and Aftermath – there’s also the phenomenal stories of Ice Cube and Easy-E that the film reminds us we should never forget.
It may even be fair to say that before this film, we could easily have ‘forgotten about Cube’, not as the movie star that he’s now commonly known as but as the incredible lyricist and artist that he also is. The overwhelming reminder after seeing ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is that the lyrical precision of Cube and his personality contributed to a pivotal moment in Hip-Hop’s history just as much as the legacy of NWA. Cube is a phenomenal force and you see a superstar in the making – he went from a groundbreaking solo album at 19 years old to starring in his first movie ‘Boyz N the Hood’ to writing and starring in his own film ‘Friday’.
In ‘Straight Outta Compton’ the vast array of moments that made the careers of many of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time becomes incredibly apparent and so it should. The lineage that came from just one group extends right up to the present day from Tupac, to Snoop to Bone Thugs and Harmony as well as to Kendrick to name just a few.
Although ‘Straight Outta Compton’ manages to document the road that led to the path of Ice Cube deciding to embark on a solo career, we also watched 2Pac take his place on the WestCoast but what we often forget is the journey that took Ice Cube from the West Coast to the East Coast in the making of his debut solo album ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted’.
When Chuck D from Public Enemy tweeted about Cube a few days ago, it reminded us that there was another backstory behind the making of ‘Amerikkka’s Most Wanted’. ‘Straight Outta Compton’ manages to cover an incredible volume of vital moments of that period, yet the wealth of Hip-Hop history relegated to that time simply is not possible in one film.
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) August 16, 2015
What both Cube and Chuck D created together after their respective groups frayed – was another revolutionary move in Hip-Hop. In an excerpt from the book ‘Check the Technique Vol.2 we get to read about the story behind the making of the album – ‘After more drama in both camps, later that year two incredibly talented forces of musical nature—Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad; and Ice Cube, with his homie Sir Jinx—came together in New York City to create the first classic hip-hop record of the 1990s: AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. And for all parties involved (including fans), it was nothing but wonderful, beautiful chaos.’
Cube explains, “I initially called Chuck because I wanted his advice about me leaving the group. He was actually encouraging me to find a way to stay in N.W.A, because the group was so meaningful to so many people. At the time I never asked him if the Bomb Squad would do my record, I was just talking to him about what I should do next. I had also talked to Lyor Cohen and other people I knew, because if Priority was gonna front on me, I was gonna go to Def Jam.”
When the Bomb Squad took on production duties on Cube’s debut album, they had a lot on their plate, the album was made while they recorded Public Enemy’s third album, Fear Of A Black Planet and were also working on the production, mixing and remixing work on Bell Biv Devoe’s debut Poison.
The result certainly caused chaos and reverberated across the whole hip-hop community – it inspired one of the most rigorous Hip-Hop beef’s of all time, with a lyrical warfare that took place after Cube dropped the album and the remaining members of N.W.A. decided to hit out at Cube.
Cube’s debut solo album soon went platinum in ‘AmeriKKKa’ and where Cube’s album had united the East and West coasts of Hip-Hop, ironically it was Death Row that would play a part in the war that later unleashed between the East and West Coast – leading to the untimely deaths of 2Pac and Biggie.
Straight Outta Compton opens in cinemas across the U.K on the 28th of August.