Straight Outta Compton proved to be a box office success this summer. Lots of hip-hop enthusiasts waited with great anticipation as previews of the movie invaded virtually every major television channel. The project was filled with new actors who brought the characters of NWA to life with their talent and respect for the story of how young rappers from Los Angeles become superstars.
One of the actors, of course, was O’Shea, Jr., who is rapper Ice Cube’s son. A lot of the press for the movie revolved around the fact that the younger O’Shea got to obtain a better understanding of what it meant to be a part of a rap group that ushered in a new genre of hip-hop. Of course, other characters in the movie, such as Dr. Dre, Eazy E and DJ Yella were also portrayed in the movie. The motivation behind their music, as well as the personal experiences that charged many of the group’s songs, is also evident in the film.
Some are critiquing Straight Outta Compton because some of the less-than-honorable actions of the rappers in NWA aren’t highlighted honestly. Critics also point out elements of misogyny in the film that are celebrated instead of shunned. Although there were many reasons to see the movie, millions of people showed their interest. While most people who loved hip-hop in the 1980s and 1990s pretty much know the basic story outlined in Straight Outta Compton, there are probably a few things you didn’t know about the movie. Here are 12 interesting facts that make the movie even more interesting.
12. MC Ren Got His Point Across With Some Angry Tweets
MC Ren, who was a part of NWA and was portrayed in the movie, praised the film but Tweeted that he wasn’t too happy about the way he was underrepresented in some of the trailers for Straight Outta Compton. The film executives heard MC Ren’s complaints and made the proper adjustments. He also made it clear that he wrote a lot of the lyrics for NWA in the group’s early stages. Ren stated that he felt the executives “fixed it” because they knew he was right about deserving more recognition. He also shared that he wasn’t afraid to hold his tongue. Isn’t that what NWA is all about?
11. Dr. Dre Was Behind The ‘Death Row Records’ Scene
Dr. Dre was the creative force behind the scene in Straight Outta Compton that depicts the insanity and destruction of Death Row Records. The label is most closely associated with Suge Knight, who is nothing short of a scary presence in the hip-hop world. F. Gary Gray, the movie’s director, stated that Dr. Dre wanted to accurately show what was going on at the label at that time. The chaotic circus, which included pit-bulls and extreme violence, was the reason Dr. Dre left the label. The scene confirms the fact that “facts are better than fiction sometimes,” according to F. Gary Gray.
10. The “Bye Felicia” Line Wasn’t Planned
F. Gary Gray is not only the director of Straight Outta Compton, but he’s also known for his 1995 directing talent for the movie Friday, which starred Ice Cube. There’s a scene in Compton in which O’Shea Jr., is talking to a girl named Felicia. He asked Gray if it would be funny if he said “bye, Felicia” to her, as a reference to Friday. Gray went with it, and when he shot the scene again, the crew and cast erupted into laughter. It wasn’t planned, but it made it into the movie because of the cultural reference, and because it was hilarious.
9. The Rapping Is Both ‘Old’ and ‘New’
The music in the movie is a combination of the new re-creation of the album done by the actors and the original music created by NWA. F. Gary Gray, the director of Straight Outta Compton, stated that he and the film executives went with the music that felt best depending on the movie scene being shot. This helped everything to flow naturally, and served as an artistic testament to the fact that new styles and classic lyrics can come together to make a creative work that spans generations. Gray stated that he “threw rules out the window” and let the music of the movie happen naturally.
8. Eazy E’s Widow Helped With the Film
Tomica Wright, who is Eazy E’s widow, gave footage of her late husband to the actor who played Eazy in the film. Wright provided music video outtakes of Eazy E that were never seen before. These outtakes helped the actor to capture the late rapper’s personality and mannerisms. The gesture also shows that Wright was comfortable with the movie for the most part, and wanted to make sure that her husband was portrayed accurately. Jason Mitchell is the actor who was selected to play Eazy E. He’s pretty new to the scene, but also appeared in the movies Broken City and Contraband.
7. Dr. Dre Gave Ice Cube Lots of Direction For The Compton Album
Dr. Dre produced a Compton album that musically captures the feelings and happenings that are showcased in the movie. During the production for the album, Ice Cube says he got a lot of direction from Dre. He states that most people would have thought that he’d be offended by being “schooled” in the studio. However, in his interview with Rolling Stone, Ice Cube stated that it’s pretty wise to listen to Dr. Dre’s expertise. Cube said Dre told him how to deliver lines, and stated that he wanted his longtime friend to be happy with the production session, so he was willing to take artistic advice. The two were allegedly feuding in previous years, so seeing them work together again was a relief for many hip-hop fans.
6. The Original Movie Was An Hour Longer
When F. Gary Gray was finished with Straight Outta Compton the first time, it was an hour longer than the version that is seen in theaters. However, Gray plans to release a director’s cut that can be purchased for home viewing. He states that the movie is “ultimately about NWA,” and emphasized that the project was created to tell the story of the rise and fall of the group. Of course, some people feel that making the movie shorter for the theater audience was just a way for NWA to cover up their chauvinistic ways. Ice Cube suggested that people who feel this way should “create their own NWA movie” and focus on “what they want to focus on.”
5. Ice Cube Was Freaked Out By Parts Of The Movie
Even though it was Ice Cube’s idea for his son to portray him in the movie, he admits that re-living this part of his life by seeing his son as him kind of freaked him out. Cube wrote a song entitled Boyz-n-the-Hood, that later turned into the acclaimed project for Straight Outta Compton. The music also got the attention of John Singleton, who put Ice Cube in a movie called Boyz N The Hood. This was Ice Cube’s acting debut, and he states that he learned more about the movie industry, which increased his professional confidence when it came to making Straight Outta Compton come to life.
4. The “Priority Records” Scene Almost Didn’t Make The Cut
If you’ve seen Straight Outta Compton or followed the goings-on of NWA in decades past, you know that Ice Cube went to Priority Records to destroy the office of Bryan Turner, the president of the label. The scene where the rapper tears the space apart in a rage was in the original script, but it almost didn’t appear in the movie. During a re-write, Ice Cube saw that the scene was missing. He wrote a request to put the scene back in the film (it was likely cut for budgetary reasons), and when the time and money was allotted for it to be back in the film, Ice Cube stated that it was one of his favorite scenes.
3. Ice Cube Always Wanted His Son To Play Him
Rapper, actor and original NWA member Ice Cube always wanted his son to play him in the movie. However, that doesn’t mean that O’Shea Jr. didn’t have to work hard to get the role. The younger O’Shea shared in an interview with Rolling Stone that his dad brought the idea of the movie to him, even before there was a script. Since O’Shea hadn’t been in any movies before, his first reaction was to audition someone else for the part. After some thought, he realized that he really didn’t want anyone else to step into that role. Sure, his father’s dreams were coming true, but O’Shea Jr. definitely had some work to do.
2. O’Shea Jr. Had To Work For The Part
That’s right. Even though Ice Cube already made his wishes known, his son still had to audition for the role of Ice Cube in Straight Outta Compton. His first audition was pretty weak, and he had to work with an acting coach before trying out for the part a few more times and landing the role. After O’Shea Jr. got the part, he had to lose about 20 pounds, so he’d look more like his father did during his NWA days. Junior stated that he had to “eat f**king leaves” in order to get the weight off, which probably means he had to be on a vegan or primarily plant-based diet to slim down.
1. The Actors Re-recorded The Straight Outta Compton Album
In order to help them get into character, all of the actors who portrayed members of NWA re-recorded the entire Straight Outta Compton album. That’s dedication. Jason Mitchell, the actor who played Eazy E, stated that working on the movie was like “boot camp,” and that re-recording the iconic album really helped to strengthen the brotherhood of the actors. O’Shea, Jr., (Ice Cube’s son) is also a rapper who goes by OMG, and saw the project as another way to hone his skills. The re-vamped album, of course, will make Straight Outta Compton (the movie) even more popular and memorable. The musical project can serve as a collectible item for future generations.