Does 'Straight Outta Compton' Get Street Cred from Critics?


“Straight Outta Compton” showcases the lives of a young Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella growing up on the gang-related streets of the L.A.-based city in the mid-’80s. This drama shows the rise and fall of their rap group N.W.A., which led them to becoming cultural phenomenons.

According to critics, life at this time was depicted fairly accurate, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the F. Gary Gray-directed film a 92 percent. Although, the 2.5-hour movie – which stars Cube’s real-life son O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr. and Paul Giamatti – apparently excelled in the first half more than the second.

 “The story of N.W.A. remains relatable as Dre puts the idea in E’s head to invest money in their music and ‘reality raps,’ as they call it. However … once N.W.A. is formed and the guys are signing with their first record label, Priority Records, the film devolves into a series of quickly shifting scenes woven in between a few too many montages that involve parties, half-naked (and some fully naked) dancing women, and clowning around making records. There’s a lot of story that needed to be pushed out in two-and-a-half hours, but rushing through the material leaves little opportunity to explore more emotionally charged moments in these men’s lives.” — Nick Romano,

“As a narrative, the back half of this movie is completely off the rails, but fans of the music will probably be more engaged. There are appearances of other stars that do little more than give the audience a chance to say ‘Hey, that’s Tupac!’ and ‘Hey that’s Snoop!’ Those who don’t bring outside knowledge to the film will find themselves clueless at a rousing final speech, in which the eventual name of Dr Dre’s record label is invoked. Worse, though, is how it loses all its edge to become hagiography for these men. It’s as if the cheesy second half doesn’t trust the more emotional and realistic first half.” — Jordan Hoffman,

“‘Straight Outta Compton‘ is a whole lotta movie. Part gritty drama, part road movie, part statement, part ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ and part ‘Behind the Music’ melodrama—this biopic of the three main members of the rap group N.W.A. is incredibly alive, entertaining, and, occasionally, incredibly relevant. It does hit some of the music biopic clichés of witnessing the a-ha moments when iconic lyrics arrive, when paths with future stars intersect, when excessive living heightens growing emptiness—but F. Gary Gray’s sprawling biopic mostly gets away with it. This is our first big rap biopic that’s larger than one personality: Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E were the original ‘Empire.'” — Brian Formo,

“Straight Outta Compton” hits theaters Friday. Watch the trailer below!