(WWETV) It is rather ironic Ice Cube was once again apart of Hip Hop cinematic history. He first did it with “Boyz In Da Hood” and then “Friday” although not necessarily Hip Hop per se, but it was highly influenced by the culture. Here we are in 2015 and Ice Cube has done it again with his group N.W.A. on the big screen. The Hip Hop lineage for movies includes Downtown 81, Wild Style, Beat Street, Krush Groove and Breakin’.
Do the Right Thing represented Hip Hop in clothing and other aspects. Menace 2 Society was another groundbreaking movie when it hit theaters in the early 90’s. However, something happened when Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls passed away. Hollywood stayed away from these narratives or at the very least slowed down the amount that was being produced.
Years ago Nas made the statement “Hip Hop is dead”. It angered many people, but also had many people clapping their hands saying the statement was true. In his song he had a verse of:
Everybody sound the same, commercialize the game
Reminiscing when it wasn’t all business
It forgot where it started
So we all gather here for the dearly departed
Hip-hopper since a toddler
One homeboy became a man, then a mobster
If it dies, let me get my last swig of Vodka
R.I.P., we’ll donate your lungs to a rasta
Went from turntables to MP3’s
From “Beat Street”to commercials on Mickey D’s
From gold cables to Jacobs
From plain facials to Botox and face lifts
I’m looking’ over my shoulder
It’s about eighty people from my hood that showed up
And they came to show love
Sold out concert and the doors are closed shut
The era of trap music seemed to have taken over and the need to be lyrical isn’t as important to some rappers like in years past. This weekend something may have changed though. A whole generation or two has passed since the days of Rakim, Run DMC, or LL Cool J rocked the mic for the old school in the 1980’s.
With the fast food type of mentality of wanting things here and now in terms of music regardless of quality content became less king. Not so much you have to be lyrical, but having no content and nuersery rhymes was taken to new levels in the last few years. I believe a lot of Hip Hop fans are showing they are tired of it or at least want an alternative in Hip Hop.
N.W.A. was not exactly spitting out lyric venom in the way of say someone like Big Daddy Kane or KRS One, but they did spit out venom in other ways such as songs like Express Yourself or the infamous “F-Tha Police”. There was still content and a message mixed in their music regardless how much ammo their critics had with their other negative lyrics. Compared to some of today’s music the N.W.A. content was Shakesparean and is possibly why the movie was such a hit with movie goers.
“Straight Outta Compton” movie did over 60 million in ticket sales according to Entertainment Weekly. It has got the honors of being the 5th biggest movie release for August in history and the biggest music biopic opening over. The Hollywood Reporter is suggesting that the rap group’s biopic may end up with an Oscar nomination. Do you think it was possible for this to happen with any rappers today that came out in the last 5 years? I find it hard to believe because the narrative wouldn’t be there to pull in the audience.
That is a huge difference with yesterday’s rap stars compared to today. The total packaging of their life story and their impact on music was completely different in a way that Hollywood could take it onto the big screen. The success of this movie may very well lead the way to Hip Hop being the new trend for Hollywood to cater their movies towards, but I believe the majority of it could only be done with old school Hip Hop stars.
Here is a list of rappers I believe will or can definitely smash the box office and possibly change the direction of the lyrics or sound of Hip Hop we have today being produced by the new breed that came out in the last 5 years.
There is already drama surrounding this biopic from 2009 when Morgan Creek Productions sued Afenia Shakur. The disagreement was over the rights of selling Tupac’s image where Morgan Creek stated that Amaru Entertainment backed out of a deal, but in the end Tupac’s mother had the courts on her side as she won the case.
Then earlier this year “Boyz In Da Hood” director John Singleton was removed from the highly anticipated Tupac biopic stating ““How you gonna make a movie about a man when you suing his mother to get the rights to tell his story?!” he continued. “They have no true love 4 Pac so this movie will not be made with love! And that’s why my a** isn’t involved! If Tupac knew what was going on he’d ride on all these fools and take it to the streets … But I won’t do that … I’ll just make my own project. What Yall think about that?!!”
In the video above L.T. Hutton says that John Singleton didn’t resign as the director, but he was actually fired.
Regardless of how it went down, Singletone says he will be doing a rival Tupac biopic. Now if that won’t drive both films into trying to one up each other nothing will. The winners in this drama to present Tupac to the world on film may very well lead into monster business like never before seen for Hip Hop. Will Tupac Shakur rise once again and break records as he once did when he was alive during the 90’s? Everyone remembers the cult classic “Juice” which some of the cast members say was the real birth of Tupac’s stardom and rocket like launch into the Hip Hop heavens as a thug angel.
2 LIVE CREW
Hollywood loves to jump on the bandwagon of sure fire things and if a filmmaker wanted similar success with a rap group on the big screen like the NWA movie 2 Live Crew may be a good start. They were very controversial in their time as they got arrested for offending the establishment not in the “f the police” kind of way, but in terms of pushing the boundaries on sexual content that caused congressional hearings. Luther Campbell had similar bacchanalian exploits and is the reason why we have warning stickers on albums today.
If this group’s biopic gets the same cinematic treatment and viral marketing who knows maybe they can come close. I know one thing would be appealing is the sexual content that could pull in viewers or at least scantily clad women all over the film will have some movie lots screaming the cliche that “sex sells” which may be the selling point for someone to do this movie.
The government and media backlash by America was right up there with the NWA. It was the most compelling thing BOTH groups had going for them. This has movie appeal all over it.