While Straight Outta Compton was one of the surprise box office hits of the summer, taking in over $200 million at the box office, it wasn’t without its controversy. Numerous musicians and individuals that were depicted in F. Gary Gray’s N.W.A. biopic have insisted that it fuses both reality and fantasy, and now Ice Cube has come out and staunchly defended the final film.
Ice Cube, who was one of the original members of the rap sensation and worked tirelessly to get Straight Outta Compton made in his role as producer, insists that it wasn’t just his version of events that was depicted up on screen. Speaking to Variety, the rapper/actor/producer/filmmaker noted that Straight Outta Compton was a merging of research, interviews, and other people's memories.
I believe trying to put 10 years or more into two-and-a-half hours, there’s no way in the world you’re going to be able to tell everybody’s story. I didn’t put this together by myself.
When all is said and done, it was always going to be impossible for an honest retelling of N.W.A’s story to be blazoned up on the big screen. Even now, just under four months after Straight Outta Compton was released into cinemas, the backlash over its content still rages on, with Jerry Heller, who was portrayed by Paul Giamatti, having already started legal proceedings against the film.
Meanwhile, the first weeks of Straight Outta Compton’s release were shrouded in controversy as it became clear that the film hadn't addressed Dr Dre’s history of domestic violence. This even eventually led to Dr. Dre releasing a statement apologizing for his past and to all the women that he’d hurt.
This fevered debate over Straight Outta Compton’s authenticity somewhat overshadows just how entertaining and enthralling the film actually was. Especially for the first half, F Gary Gray brought us into the Compton of the late 1980s in an authentic, raw, and brutal fashion, making it crystal clear why N.W.A’s music was able to resonate so powerfully. Sure, it became a tad cheesy and melodramatic by the end, but Straight Outta Compton was a fine tribute to one of the most important groups in the history of music. Even if it did mess with history just a tad.