I’m a rapper, even though I suck. I am obsessed with poetry and finding a beat I can rely on. It’s all relative and I don’t think I’m very good but I still write and still harbour a goal to finish an album one day. I just want one.
Straight Outta Compton was great. It profiles the meteoric rise – and fall – of 1980’s N.W.A. In the group are prolific and highly regarded artists Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy E, to name a few. Perhaps this was true to reality but no women played an influential role in the hip hop of the film (save for a tiny part by Dre’s wife who looks over some contracts). I found myself wishing that there was at least one role reppin’ some real-time influence but all I saw were butts and broads that the boys wanted to fuck. In this day and age, despite reality, I don’t think that a story should be told without a strong female lead. I just don’t believe it wholly.
The film is an essential telling of one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in the USA at the time. The depiction of Compton and its sordid history is a golden ticket into understanding the harsh realities that exist for many people, then and now. The voices that come out of this community are essential players in a larger cultural puzzle and they’re essential in the development of safety and progression for all races. What N.W.A. rapped and wrote about – police aggression, displacement, gang culture, pop culture – were societal elements needed to enforce positive change. Their songs were an outlet, a recounting; a history and a truth. They were a reality and a call to action. They were really, really important.
Using art to cope, create, and understand our emotions, aggressions, fears, and realities is a direct path to helping us understand ourselves. Sharing it brave. Sharing it is an inspirer. Sharing it allows a conversation to begin about topics that may be difficult to discuss or tackle. Straight Outta Compton the film comes at a crucial time in North American history. The #BlackLivesMatter movement – a campaign against police brutality against African-Americans – is not far off from the struggles and realities depicted in the 1980’s. If the masses watch this film and can’t see what’s going on, I don’t know what to say.