Post by AgeOfEnlightenmentSCP on Aug 28, 2015 15:51:26 GMT -5
I was frankly surprised when I saw this movie out at a local theater. I'm well aware of the 'history' of gangsta rap and the who's who of the 'old school'. I've been less than amused when felons like Snoop Dog are "slimed" by adoring kids on Nickelodeon, and I frankly don't see the point in glorifying what is not exactly a bright spot for African-American culture.
A hit movie about the rap group N.W.A. is a reminder: Glorified thuggery poisoned poor black communities.
For two weeks the top box-office draw has been “Straight Outta Compton,” a meandering biopic about the rise and disintegration of the Los Angeles-area rap group N.W.A., or n****z With Attitude. N.W.A. helped popularize “gangsta rap” in the late 1980s, and even this hagiography can’t hide the fact that its legacy has endured to the detriment of poor black communities.
The most prominent members of the quintet were Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E, and they distinguished themselves from other rap acts mainly through relentless, jarring profanity. Materialism and braggadocio were already rap staples, but N.W.A. added heavy doses of sadistic sex, misogyny, gun violence and all-round thuggery. Typical are the lyrics to a song on their second album that invoke gang rape of a 14-year-old “preacher’s daughter.”
“Straight Outta Compton” not only doesn’t dwell on N.W.A.’s glorification of self-destructive behavior, anyone appalled by it is portrayed as a racist or a square. The film is more interested in presenting the rappers as authentic voices of decent young black men in poor communities who are regularly victimized by police. Still, the viewer can’t help but notice that our protagonists regularly engage in criminal behavior, dress like gang members in areas infested by ruffians and defy the police who suspect them of being up to no good. Their problem is not that the cops harass them but that the cops interfere with their lawbreaking.
In one of the film’s early scenes, designed to illustrate the kinds of experiences that shaped the rappers’ upbringing, a young Ice Cube is riding home on a yellow school bus when a group of gang members pulls alongside in a sedan. Some of the kids on the bus start shouting out the window and playfully flashing gang signs at the men in the car. The gang members respond by stopping the school bus, forcing their way inside and putting a pistol to the head of one of the teenage taunters. The scene suggests that the biggest bane of the black community isn’t the police officer but the black hoodlum. Yet Ice Cube and other gangsta rappers would go on to great fame and fortune penning lyrics that claimed the reverse.