Compton California is a typical slum, ghetto within the city of Los Angeles from which spawned the beginnings of rap music in the late 80’s and early 90’s. For the most part rap music is not really music at all but instead is mostly rhymes and rhythms that are loaded with the worst kind of vile language and stories about abusing women, killing police officers, violence and inciting riots. One of the famous songs from the rap group NWA in this movie is actually entitled “F the police”. Clearly songs like this and many more like it incited increased problems within the ghettos in this country with the police.
One of the mysteries this movie unveiled is the insanity of how music that is riddled with the worst kinds of foul language was even allowed to be released considering the restrictions placed on music by the FCC. It seems that Freedom of Speech won out over common sense and Government regulation. There have been some rap songs over the years that are actually good, rapper M&M’s hit in 2002 “Lose Yourself” actually won the academy award for best original song. However the great majority of rap music is horrible and is not music at all and its amazing that this genre of music ever became popular in the first place. What is more amazing is how so many very lucky young men have become extremely wealthy from music this bad much less all the peripheral products including clothing, perfume and even alcohol over the years. One of the main characters in this movie Dr Dre is now actually a billionaire from his rap empire and the Beats music products and high performance headphones. Were it not for rap its clear that many of the real life characters in this movie would now either be in jail or dead and I sure hope they consider themselves some of the very luckiest people on planet earth.
As far as this movie it is well acted, told well and is a good history lesson about rap music in the late 80s and 90s. The actor Paul Giamatti is as usual great in his role as the agent and visionary for this group who took a chance and signed them and was very sympathetic and supportive with their many problems in the police, but later in the move it seemed he was not treating them fairly as far as the money the group was making – nothing new there.
Overall I do recommend this movie, but I think that its too long, close to 2 1/2 hours. I think the same story could have been well told in 2 hours with perhaps less musical numbers.