I'm sitting here feeling old, realizing that it was 29 YEARS AGO that some young extremely talented black dudes from Compton, California decided to start making music and to develop a movement that would impact the landscape of Southern California, America, and eventually the entire world.
As a young black native of Los Angeles and hip-hop head, [Straight Outta Compton](movie:332789) is the N.W.A. biopic I've subconsciously been waiting for my entire life. The film depicts a group of men who were a self-proclaimed product of their harsh environment, who took positive steps towards changing systemic racism and overall negative influences in their neighborhood and others like it.
Check out the trailer:
Now, more than ever, with the backlash we've all witnessed in the wake of some highly questionable legal decisions in our country and movements like #BlackLivesMatter, this film is extremely topical. This looks like it could be the modern-day Boyz N The Hood, which ended up transcending being just a "black film". It was a film everybody could learn a little something from, and I think this will fall in to that category as well.
Almost 30 years later, it's amazing the legacy that these men will leave.
Dr. Dre (Andre Young) is of course, unequivocally still ballin'
Easily the most successful of the bunch, Dre dropped two classic albums in The Chronic and Chronic 2001, after which time he promised us Detox. We are still waiting on it... and waiting on it... and waiting some more. But it's fine because during the time he could've been recording he basically just groomed a bunch of stars (ie Kendrick Lamar, The Game, Eminem, 50 Cent, etc etc) in the rap game.
Rather than stop there, he became more rich, and potentially more famous, for his Beats by Dre music technology company which recently sold to Apple for a (casual) reported $3.2 billion. Not bad for a kid from Compton...
Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson) is ballin' too... not quite as hard as Dre, but definitely still ballin'
Ice Cube going broke is almost as likely as the Jheri Curl making a comeback - which is not very. Whether it's movies, Coors Light commercials, the occasional musical project, etc, he's remained highly relevant in the pop culture scene deep into the 2010s. I am not sure if he regrets making Are We There Yet? but I will give him a pass because he's frickin' Ice Cube!
Eazy-E (Eric Lynn Wright, RIP) is still a legend in the game
Eazy-E probably could've been just as big as Cube and Dre if he hadn't tragically passed away from the AIDS virus that was rampant in the 1990's. He had the most iconic voice and his flow was insane. I still bump his music to this day, and his verse on "Straight Outta Compton" (the song) will forever be engrained in my mind.
(Sidenote: It's worth mentioning that N.W.A was featured heavily in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and I think one of the most memorable parts of my middle school life was stealing cars in the game, immediately changing to the hip hop radio station, and listening to Eazy-E spit while completing missions)
The D.O.C. (Tracy Lynn Curry) was a low-key but huge driving force for N.W.A.
The D.O.C. may not have even been considered an original founding member of N.W.A., but he was certainly a driving force in their success. He was actually born in Dallas, Texas but moved to LA and co-wrote a lot of their most popular tracks. He was famously name-dropped by Dr. Dre in the classic song "Forgot About Dre", when he mentions the O.G.'s (original gangsters).
As far as his personal life, he had a daughter with Erykah Badu, and continued to rap. He had some health issues revolving around his vocal cords - his larynx was damaged in a car accident - he had to have surgery to fix them.
MC Ren (Lorenzo Patterson) didn't join til '88 but had a profound impact too
MC Ren's name comes as a derivation of his first name, Lorenzo. He has a record label now called Villain Entertainment. He was often referred to as The Ruthless Villain, The Villain, The Villain in Black, etc which makes sense because he truly embodied the role as an antagonized black man in the world.
DJ Yella (Antoine Carraby) is making pornos now?
A very low-key member of the N.W.A. crew, DJ Yella is arguably one of the most slept on members. At this point in his career, he has pivoted from the rap and producing game to the Adult film game, which we all know is highly lucrative. This man has produced OVER 300 adult films. The grind never stops.
Arabian Prince (Mik Lezan) did some solo records
Last, but not least, is Arabian Prince who was featured on the 1988 album, Straight Outta Compton. He's recently dropped Professor X and Innovative Life: The Anthology in 2008. He might be the least recognizable member of the crew, but he will always have the claim to fame that he was a member of N.W.A.