In an introduction to the trailer (above, NSFW), Dr. Dre and Ice Cube ride through their old neighborhood, “We put it all in the music, all our frustration and anger,” they say. “Our music was like our weapon, and that’s the most powerful weapon we’ve got.”
In 1988 NWA released “Straight Outta Compton” and changed hip-hop forever. The controversial album punched through the charts with the song “Fuck Tha Police.” That song also caught the attention of the FBI, who feared it would incite violence.
But the time was already a violent one. Gang wars were a daily part of South LA. The 1991 Rodney King beating and subsequent riots were just around the corner. In the video, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube say that NWA was writing the protest songs of the time.
At a casting call for the movie last April, the film’s director F. Gary Gray told KCRW this movie shows an important time in American history. “It’s not unlike ‘Social Network’ or ‘American Graffiti,’ where you take a place and time in America, especially as it relates to popular culture, and you see the shift, and they were right there and created part of the pivot that America took in entertainment. We went from Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince to hip-hop, and this is the time that marks that shift in that era.”
The film is set to be released this summer.
Go inside the casting call and hear more about the impact of NWA on Compton below: