Straight Outta Compton is the highly anticipated movie telling the behind-the-scenes tale of the group, NWA that may deliver more than just a storyline. The group defined Gangsta Rap, and redefined the perimeters of Hip-Hop by using music and lyrics to allow insight into the racial and economic injustices, anger, frustration and struggles of Compton in the late 80’s. Fast forward to 2015, with racial tensions quieter but at an all time high in urban areas around the country. Unarmed black men and women fall victim to police bullets, neighborhoods continue to wrangle with violence, all while the communities cry and march to a beat unheard by those not impacted or swayed by the social ills of “the ‘hood. “
Many who enjoy Hip-Hop today do so without the true social movement, message and potential of NWA. The “rapping for a cause” groups like NWA and Public Enemy have been all but replaced by those who are “rapping, just because.” Maybe the movie will alter that tune by showing the true potential and possibilities of change hidden in and delivered by the music and the movement therein.
I am thinking, and perhaps quietly hoping, that young people will see there is and can be a message and change in music, one of substance and social consciousness without compromising the edge that urban areas and its residents have, and that so many others seek to duplicate.
I kinda wish that this movie will show there is more that can be done beyond participating in a march and Tweeting the hash tag of the moment to show support for and demand change to the plight of people of color in this country. NWA made America look up, wake up and take notice of who they were and what they were saying.
While the issues they rapped about still exist, I believe there is a greater platform upon which more can be said and done with and as a result of today’s music. There’s energy and a sense of urgency anxiously looking for an outlet. This movie may just be the channel.