Just watched STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON! (my REVIEW) A good friend and filmmaking partner John Gonzales had an extra ticket for a special screening and knew there was only one person to ask. His only friend who’s a true Ruthless Records fan for life. That’d be me. I’m that wigger kid screaming “Fuck the Police” in his room while his white parents question their parenting skills outside my bedroom door. Remember that white kid from CB4? Yep, that was me rapping “Straight Outta Compton crazy muthafuck named Slava!” from inside my room on the South Central side of our apartment.
For 30 years, I’ve been that kid. Growing older with age and replacing the records with tapes then CDs then eventually downloads of the same street reporter stories coming from Eazy E and NWA.
So the chance to catch an early preview was only thing on my mind. This was 30 years coming and 20 since Eazy’s death. Yes, the entire movie I rapped all the lyrics inside my head and bobbed in my chair.
If you grew up in that era, you remember the craziness of the first album then eventually of the second Straight Outta Compton masterpiece. You remember the record covers and music videos. The stories, fights, riots and arrests. This movie covered so much!
I sat there smiling as F. Gary Gray reminded me of the original K-DAY and short glimpses into World Class Wrecking Crew, as well as other quick bites about Ice Cube’s CIA. And then of course introducing us to The D.O.C. who I adored so much that I even own all his Fila Fresh Crew tapes. And would pose like him from his “It’s Funky Enough” album. Yes I was that wigger kid. And yes, I also own the CIA tape and all World Class Wrecking Crew albums.
The movie brought us back to the Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. that no longer exists. But back then it was the hot spot where I bought my “100 Miles and Running” Album then the Ice Cube tapes and that amazing Chronic tape. If you grew up in LA during those times, you remember the Rodney King video, verdict and eventual riots. Watching this movie I remembered hurrying through LA to get to my brother’s school before all of Los Angeles caught on fire. The news reports and how angry we all were, black and white.
Seeing the Crenshaw cruising I smiled in remembrance of being invited there in 1989 by my friends. But being that fake as bedroom gangsta little wigger kid I declined. We all knew a kid or two that NWA rapped about and tried to keep our distance. Yet, from safety of our cars and homes rapped along with their true life stories.
This movie brought out memories from my childhood. It brought out emotions I forgot about. I remember where I was when Eazy E announced he had AIDS, I also remember where I was when he passed away. Those emotions were so real as this “drug dealer” who by all purposes was a bad guy in so many people’s eyes captured our hearts with his stories. That heart felt emotion is what led me to rekindle these moments in my heart again. I sat in the theatre with tears running down my face remembering my drive on the 101 right passed the 405 junction when I first heard Eazy E died twenty years ago.
The two and half hours went by so fast, I wanted more and more. This piece of art brought me through every emotion from laughter to anger and eventual sadness of what could have been. With such emotions pulling you every direction, this movie had a perfect message to enjoy your life by “You can’t put a price on peace of mind.”
A few final thoughts. This street reporting movement and style had a big impact on so many growing up. Three decades later the fans are as loyal to this as ever. I for one dressed the part and thought the part. So much so I had the highest grade in African American Studies class in College. I cared enough that my influences carried over to my little brother Jonathan who later in life became one of the most out spoken and creative street artists in Los Angeles. And to this day makes a difference with his Hip Hop gear created by his company Digital Threads. The LA TIMES front page shirt is one of the best used examples of his NWA and street reporting influence. Being the wigger big brother I even dressed him this way as a young boy.
My pride and joy of filmmaking was out “My Brother’s Keeper” portfolio project I did with my filmmaking partner, Kareem, in film school. These stories and Kareem’s real life experiences helped in creating a very controversial and in your face student film for our graduation piece. I decided to include some of my 35mm memories here in remembering the time and era of these amazing moments that molded all of us into what we are today.
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