Director of the upcoming N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton F. Gary Gray thinks the revolutionary rap group would respond to #BlackLivesMatter similarly to how they reacted to what they were experiencing nearly 30 years ago.
Gray teamed up with remaining members of the historic west coast rap group, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre and MC Ren, to tell the ups and downs of their incredible story.
The film, named for the title track on N.W.A.’s 1988 album, stars Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube), as well as Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E), Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre), Neil Brown Jr. (DJ Yella) and Aldis Hodge (MC Ren).
When asked how N.W.A. would respond to the social commentary of today, Gary said, “Probably the same way they did back then. They were pretty frustrated. They spoke their mind. They were honest about it, and I think they would respond the same way. ‘Hey listen it’s time to change. It’s time for a change.'”
When it comes to hip-hop artists today, Gary, as well as Ice Cube, DJ Yella and O’Shea Jackson Jr, feel fellow Compton native Kendrick Lamar is truly influential and follows closely in the big footsteps that N.W.A. created.
“It’s hard to duplicate N.W.A., but I like what Kendrick Lamar is doing,” said Gary. “I like what J. Cole is doing. These guys are conscious, and at least I know Kendrick is from the streets of Compton and stuff like that, so they’re authentic. And I think a lot of that comes from the N.W.A. or at least era.”
The director also talked about reuniting with Ice Cube again to take on this biopic. Gray directed Ice Cube’s first film, Friday, in 1995, and 20 years and multiple collaborations later, the duo seems stronger than ever. The two even pay homage to Friday during a scene in Straight Outta Compton that will surely have audiences laughing.
“It reminded me of the chemistry we had back in the 90’s,” Gary said about working with Ice Cube. “It was really, really cool to reunite and do something like Straight Outta Compton.”
Straight Outta Compton hits theaters this Friday, August 14.