Like most hip-hops fans the minute I heard NWA were going to be the subject of a film. I was apprehensive.. REALLY? OK cool, but are we going to get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
NWA had a reputation for being controversial, they were from the streets and they told it how it was. Their lyrical content shocked many mainstream audiences, with references to police brutality, racism, the now typical ‘bitches and hoes’, drugs and dealers..you name it!
NWA were the founding fathers of gangster rap and they did it well. They brought some serious issues to the forefront of social awareness.
I can’t help but wonder if incidents like the infamous fight between Dee Barnes (a rapper and TV presenter) and Dr Dre will be mentioned or shown in the film.
Dee had interviewed Ice Cube in 1991 and talked about his split from NWA. Clips of other members of NWA dissing Ice Cube were shown during the interview. Dr Dre felt that the interview showed NWA in a bad light so a couple of months later he was at a party Dee happened to be at and her beat the shit out of her. No joke.
According to Rolling Stone reporter Alan Light:
He picked her up by her hair and “began slamming her head and the right side of her body repeatedly against a brick wall near the stairway” as his bodyguard held off the crowd with a gun. After Dre tried to throw her down the stairs and failed, he began kicking her in the ribs and hands. She escaped and ran into the women’s rest room. Dre followed her and “grabbed her from behind by the hair again and proceeded to punch her in the back of the head.”
After the incident Easy E and MC Ren are quoted as saying “bitch had it coming” and “she deserved it”.
It was even mentioned in the Eminem track Guilty Conscience “You gonna take advice from somebody who slapped Dee Barnes!?”
Dee filed assault charges against Dre and brought a $22.75 million lawsuit against Dr. Dre. Dre pleased no contest. He was fined $2500, placed on two years’ probation, and ordered to perform 240 hours of community service and produce an anti-violence public service announcement. The lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
This is far from the only violent incident involving NWA but it is one of the most well known and shocking stories , will it make it into the NWA biopic? Probably not.
Despite the sexist lyrics I’m an NWA fan, Straight Outta Compton is one of the best rap albums of all time. When it comes to hip hop/rap I take lyrics with a pinch of salt. I’m well aware that a lot of rappers are ‘performing’ and are playing a role. You know these rappers don’t go home and talk to their wives and girlfriends like they do on stage…but that’s a different discussion for another time.
Nor is Dr Dre is not the first artist to be involved in a violent altercation with a woman. Axl Rose, John Lennon, Nick Oliveri, Chris Brown..the list goes on.
Straight Outta Compton is due out in August next year after being in the works for a couple of years now. Director F. Gary Gray who directed Friday and the 2003 remake of The Italian Job has cast mostly unknowns in the film and Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr has stepped up to play his father in the film.
Which again makes me question just how much of the real story are we going to see. I can’t imagine either Cube or his son being comfortable with some of the questionable antics the guys got up to in their heyday.
Still, I’ll be first in line to see this.