This is the weekend where calendars and planners should have movie dates penciled in specifically for Straight Outta Compton.
For months, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren and DJ Yella—the surviving members of N.W.A.—have been getting us ready to see the portrayal of their rise to hip hop importance, but the preparation for that moment has been a long time coming.
Director F. Gary Gray always knew from the get-go that N.W.A.’s story was one that needed to be shared (“I knew it would get made, it was just how“), but there were doubts as to whether or not people would be gutsy enough to take the plot to theaters. “I didn’t think a studio would have the courage to make it,” Cube said. “Not the way I wanted it made.”
Universal took up the challenge, recruiting promising young talent to recreate N.W.A. for the big screen. “It’s a testament to people taking a chance. To Universal taking a chance on us,” Corey Hawkins, the film’s Dr. Dre, said. Aside for Hawkins being plucked to play Dre, Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr. stepped up to fill his shoes, Aldis Hodge was MC Ren, Neil Brown Jr. was DJ Yella and Jason Mitchell took on the hardest role, Eazy-E.
“Jason Mitchell gave a world class performance and I think part of it is because there is a little Eazy-E in him,” Gray said of the fallen rapper’s movie doppelgänger. “He’s from the streets of New Orleans. He’s been through some things and seen some things.”
VIBE‘s writer Keith Murphy headed over to sunny L.A. to speak with the cast and crew about all the other factors that made Straight Outta Compton come together the way it did. Press play on it here and above.