Straight Outta Compton was an incredible movie. It told the story of a group of teenagers from Compton, California, who formed a group called N.W.A. and then created an entirely new genre of music: West Coast gangsta rap. The story is important and fascinating, and people still found a reason to complain about it. Because of course they did.
Their biggest concern was that Straight Outta Compton didn’t touch on the violent past of Dr. Dre, N.W.A.’s famed producer — specifically, how he’s abused women.
Most assumed that because Dr. Dre was a producer of Straight Outta Compton, he cut all the pieces of his past that made him look bad. These viewers claimed that he painted himself in the best light possible and made the movie inaccurate. And maybe Dr. Dre did take some creative license by omitting his troubles, but if that’s the only thing you take away from Straight Outta Compton, I strongly urge you to watch it again.
The movie gave the backstory and the cultural context of a tumultuous time in American history, and it allowed unprecedented access to see exactly what it takes to create a musical genre. A type of music was created by teenagers. That’s huge. That’s Beatles big.
Straight Outta Compton had three hours to take its huge audience from the formation of N.W.A. to Aftermath while also explaining the Los Angeles riots and the AIDS epidemic. What Straight Outta Compton did was explain that “F*** the Police” wasn’t just a bunch of hoodlums whining about laws. People were really frustrated with the state of their neighborhood.
Keeping out Dr. Dre’s past wasn’t a deliberate choice to rewrite history; it was a decision to focus on what mattered to the biggest number of people — the music and the cultural impact it made on California and beyond.
If the movie was a biopic of Dr. Dre and omitted the facts of his legal trouble, then yes, it would be an obvious misrepresentation of the truth. But in order to tell the story of N.W.A. and what they meant to hip-hop, it simply wasn’t needed. And what Straight Outta Compton taught everyone about that period in history is so much more important than mistakes Dr. Dre made as a young man.
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