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Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Starring Corey Hawkins, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti | based on the rise and fall of the rap group N.W.A
Corey Hawkins
Washington, D.C., USA
Dr. Dre (born Andre Romelle Young)
Born: February 18, 1965
Birthplace: Compton, California, USA
O'Shea Jackson Jr.
Born: February 24, 1991
Los Angeles, California, USA
Ice Cube (born O'Shea Jackson)
Born: June 15, 1969
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Jason Mitchell
Eazy-E (born Eric Lynn Wright)
Born: September 7, 1963
Birthplace: Compton, California, USA
Death: March 26, 1995, Los Angeles, California, USA (complications from AIDS)
Neil Brown Jr.
Born: June 19, 1980
Orlando, Florida, USA
DJ Yella (born Antoine Carraby)
Born: December 11, 1967
Birthplace: Compton, California, USA
Aldis Hodge
Born: September 20, 1986
Onslow County, North Carolina, USA
MC Ren
Born: June 14, 1969
Birthplace: Compton, California, USA
Paul Giamatti
Born: June 6, 1967
New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Gerald E. "Jerry" Heller
Born: October 6, 1940
Birthplace: Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA
Elena Goode
New York City, New York, USA
Nicole Threatt
Born: January 1, 1970

Married Dr. Dre in 1996
Alexandra Shipp
Born: July 16, 1991
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Kimberly Woodruff

Married Ice Cube in 1992
Carra Patterson
Saint Petersburg, Florida, USA
Tomica Woods-Wright
Born: 1969
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

Married Eazy-E in 1995
Keith Stanfield
Born: August 12, 1991
San Bernardino, California, USA
Snoop Dogg (born Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.)
Born: October 20, 1971
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, USA
R. Marcos Taylor
Suge Knight (born Marion Hugh Knight, Jr.)
Born: April 19, 1965
Birthplace: Compton, California, USA
Marcc Rose
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Tupac Shakur (born Lesane Parish Crooks)
Born: June 16, 1971
Birthplace: East Harlem, New York City, New York, USA
Death: September 13, 1996, Las Vegas, Nevada (drive-by shooting)
We'd talk about sh** you couldn't talk about on a record, that we didn't think you could until Eazy-E came into the picture and said, 'No, these are the kind of records I want to make, not just mixtapes, not just for the 'hood. Let's do these kinds of records for everybody.' -Ice Cube, April 2015, Rolling Stone

Questioning the Story:

Does Ice Cube's real-life son portray his father in the movie?

Yes. If you thought that the actor playing Ice Cube in the N.W.A movie shares a noticeable resemblance to the real Ice Cube, it's because Ice Cube's real-life son, O'Shea Jackson Jr., portrays his father in the movie. During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Ice Cube stressed that his son still had to audition for the part. "He had to win the part," said Cube. "I ain't givin' up nothin' free. He's spot-on. ... He was born to play the part."

O'Shea Jackson Jr. portrays his father, Ice Cube, in the Straight Outta Compton movie. Pictured here in October 2014.

Did N.W.A form after Eazy-E bailed Dr. Dre out of jail for punching a guy who attacked his little brother?

No. The Straight Outta Compton true story reveals that Eazy-E bailed Dre out of jail for unpaid parking tickets on his Mazda RX7, not for punching a guy. In return, Eazy asked Dre to produce Ruthless Records' debut single, "Boyz-n-the-Hood."

Did N.W.A really get harassed by cops outside of a recording studio?

Yes. In the movie, it happens outside a recording studio in Torrance, California where they are recording their first album, Straight Outta Compton. In real life, members of the group did get harassed by cops in 1987 outside of Audio Achievements in Torrance while they were recording their first album. However, the incident didn't help to inspire the concept for their song "F*** Tha Police." Ice Cube had developed the concept for the song long before Dr. Dre agreed to record it (Dre wanted to wait until he no longer had to go to jail on weekends as punishment for too many traffic violations).

Did Ice Cube really kick a girl out of a party and start the popular catchphrase, "Bye Felicia"?

No. The "Bye Felicia" scene is fiction. It does not depict the origin of the popular catchphrase, "Bye Felicia," which is essentially the dismissive equivalent of the '90s insult, "Talk to the Hand." The scene in the movie is instead a nod to the real origin of the catchphrase, Ice Cube's classic 1995 stoner comedy Friday. In that movie, Craig (Ice Cube) dismisses the neighborhood's freeloading drug addict Felisha by saying, "Bye Felisha."

Why did Ice Cube leave N.W.A?

Like in the Straight Outta Compton N.W.A movie, the true story reveals that Ice Cube left the group in 1989 over a royalty dispute with the group's manager, Jerry Heller (portrayed by Paul Giamatti in the movie), who Cube felt had cheated him out of royalties. Cube had written nearly half of the lyrics on the Straight Outta Compton album himself and didn't feel that he was getting adequately compensated for his contribution.

Did Ice Cube really smash up Priority Records' offices with a baseball bat?

Yes. Like in the movie, Ice Cube was upset that he hadn't been paid his advance on his solo album. This was just days after his first son's birth in February 1991. He smashed up the offices of Priority Records with an aluminum baseball bat, which in turn got him his advance.

Did the FBI really go after N.W.A for inciting violence against the police?

Yes, and like in the movie, it was in the form of a letter to the group's label. The FBI's assistant director, Milt Ahlerich, sent a letter to Ruthless Records and the company's distributor, Priority Records. The letter attempted to advise the group, with Ahlerich writing, "Advocating violence and assault is wrong and we in the law enforcement community take exception to such action." However, Ahlerich himself came under scrutiny for writing the letter. Rep. Don Edwards (D-San Jose), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on civil and constitutional rights, considered launching an investigation into the letter, stating that "the FBI should stay out of the business of censorship." The FBI's letter is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The group talked about the letter during an Arsenio Hall N.W.A interview. -LA Times

Top Row: Former N.W.A members (from left to right) DJ Yella, Ice Cube, MC Ren and Dr. Dre. Bottom Row: Straight Outta Compton cast Neil Brown Jr., O'Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, Aldis Hodge and Corey Hawkins.

FBI Letter to N.W.A (dated August 1, 1989):

Below is the content of Milt Ahlerich's letter to N.W.A. The letter was addressed to Gui Manganiello, who was the National Promotions Director for Priority Records, the distributor for Eazy-E's Ruthless label.

Dear Mr. Manganiello:

A song recorded by the rap group N.W.A. on their album entitled "Straight Outta Compton" encourages violence and disrespect for the law enforcement officer and has been brought to my attention. I understand your company recorded and distributed this album, and I am writing to share my thoughts and concerns with you.

Advocating violence and assault is wrong, and we in the law enforcement community take exception to such action. Violent crime, a major problem in our country, reached an unprecedented high in 1988. Seventy-eight law enforcement officers were feloniously slain in the line of duty during 1988, four more than in 1987. Law enforcement officers dedicate their lives to the protection of our citizens, and recordings such as the one from N.W.A. are both discouraging and degrading to these brave, dedicated officers.

Music plays a significant role in society, and I wanted you to be aware of the FBI's position relative to this song and its message. I believe my views reflect the opinion of the entire law enforcement community.

Sincerely yours,
Milt Ahlerich
Assistant Director
Office of Public Affairs

Was N.W.A really arrested after being told not to play "F*** Tha Police" at a show?

Yes, but it didn't go down quite like it does in the Straight Outta Compton movie. The true story confirms that the group did indeed defy local law enforcement by playing "F*** Tha Police" at a 1989 show in Detroit after being told not to. However, according to Jerry Heller's memoir, they were escorted to their hotels following the concert. The arrest didn't happen until later that evening when they came down to the lobby to meet a group of girls.

Did Dr. Dre's younger brother really die in a fight?

Yes. Like in the movie, Dr. Dre got the devastating news while he was on tour with N.W.A. Dre's half-brother, Tyree, had been attacked by several guys outside a store and they broke his neck during the altercation. Dre was devastated and his mother said that it was the first time she had seen him cry since he was a little boy. -You Forgot About Dre Unauthorized Biography

What caused the feud between Dr. Dre and Eazy-E?

As with Ice Cube's departure, manager Jerry Heller was again at the center of the dispute between Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, which led to Dre leaving Ruthless to start Death Row Records with Marion "Suge" Knight. "The split came when Jerry Heller got involved," recalls Dre. "He played the divide and conquer game. Instead of taking care of everybody, he picked one nigga to take care of and that was Eazy. And Eazy was like, 'I'm taken care of, so f*** it'" ( A number of subsequent songs addressed the feud, including Eazy-E's track "Real Compton City G's".

Dr. Dre and Ice Cube both left N.W.A because Jerry Heller (right) chose to take care of Eazy-E (left) and not the whole group. Like in the movie, Eazy-E and Heller would eventually also part ways following a financial dispute.

Did Suge Knight and his goons beat up Eazy-E to get him to release Dr. Dre from the Ruthless Records contract?

Yes, but Dre says that he didn't know Suge's plans for Eazy-E on that night in 1991. In Jerry Heller's memoir, he confirms that Eazy wanted to retaliate by killing Suge. As Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) suggests in the movie, Eazy-E decided to seek revenge in a different way. The incident sparked a lawsuit against Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, and Sony, which was resolved with an out-of-court settlement.

Was Dr. Dre really arrested following a high-speed chase in his Ferrari?

The incident is based on a true story. Dre was arrested on January 10, 1994 for driving drunk and leading cops on a 90-mph chase through Beverly Hills in his 1987 Ferrari. His blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.

Did they have plans to get N.W.A back together?

In researching the Straight Outta Compton true story, we learned that although nothing had been formally laid out, both Dr. Dre and Ice Cube feel that the group had been on the verge of getting back together, as Cube explained in a Hot 97 interview. They both had reconciled with Eazy-E prior to his death. "I thought we were really about to get N.W.A back together and rekindle everything back up," says Cube. "And then he passed away."

Did Dr. Dre and Ice Cube really make things right with Eazy-E just before Eazy's death from AIDS?

Yes, and it played out much like it does in the movie. "I was so fortunate to be able to get on the phone with him and talk about maybe putting N.W.A back together," says Dre, "and we chopped it up about old times and what have you and maybe not even two weeks after that, he was in the hospital." Dr. Dre visited him in the hospital, but by that time Eazy was on life support and didn't know Dre was in the room. Dre just leaned over and whispered a few words in his ear. A day or two later, Eazy was gone.

Like in the movie, Ice Cube reconciled with Eazy-E at a club called The Tunnel. "My little feud was over and done," says Cube. They talked about getting the group back together. A few months later, Cube found out Eazy was sick. "Once I found out he was sick, I went down to the hospital, saw Dre there. Dre was just coming out. He was like, 'You know, he's not conscious right now.' So, I felt like there was no reason to go in there if he didn't know I was there." Cube and his wife were staying in a nearby hotel. He told Eazy's people to call if he regained consciousness and he would come over to see him. -Hot 97

Did Tomica Woods marry Eazy-E just days before his death?

Yes. Tomica had one child with Eric (Eazy-E) Wright and was pregnant with another at the time of his death on March 26, 1995. Though not shown in the movie, her deathbed marriage to Eazy-E, which took place on approximately March 22, 1995, became the subject of controversy, with some claiming that Eazy was not in his right mind at the time to make such a decision. As a result of the nuptials, Tomica Woods-Wright inherited Ruthless Records from her husband. Eazy-E's former lovers and business associates sued for their piece of the rapper's dwindling fortune. In all, Eazy had seven children with six different women.

Like Jason Mitchell's character in the Straight Outta Compton movie (left), the real Eazy-E got married just days before he died of AIDS on March 26, 1995.

Is it true that Eazy-E's son was upset he wasn't cast to play his father in the Straight Outta Compton movie?

Yes. In July 2014, TMZ reported that Eazy-E's son, Lil Eazy, was outraged that he wasn't cast to play his father in the N.W.A movie Straight Outta Compton. What particularly struck a nerve with him was that O'Shea Jackson Jr., Ice Cube's son, was cast to play his father in the movie. Lil Eazy later told Rolling Stone that he was misquoted and that he reached out to offer his support to actor Jason Mitchell, who was selected to play Eazy-E in the movie. "I'm not upset about [the casting]," said Lil Eazy. "What Cube did was a great thing and a loving father, that you're supposed to do for your family and your legacy. ... I wish I could have got [the part]."

Lil Eazy was given the chance to audition. The casting director told him he was talented but needed to lose some weight. Ice Cube, who was a producer on the film, weighed in on the controversy. "[Lil Eazy] is an up and coming actor trying to do it, but we needed somebody who was a little more polished to play Eazy, because he goes through a lot in his life. He goes from sellin' dope in Compton to fighting for his life in a hospital bed, so we needed to find an actor with a lot of range, and we couldn't use just anybody. We gave him a shot and it just didn't work out." -Power 105.1

Did Suge Knight's anger over his portrayal in the movie really lead to a fatal hit and run?

Yes. Upset that the producers hadn't contacted him to discuss his portrayal or compensate him for using his likeness, music CEO Suge Knight visited the set of a commercial that was being made to promote the N.W.A movie. He intended to meet with Dr. Dre but ended up in a shouting match with actor Cle "Bone" Sloan, which carried over to Tam's Burgers several miles away. According to TMZ, Suge eventually backed over both Sloan and Suge's own friend, Terry Carter, fatally injuring Carter. Actor R. Marcos Taylor portrays Suge Knight in the movie.

Did Dr. Dre want to make an N.W.A movie?

No, at least not until Ice Cube sold him on the idea. "I didn't even want to do the movie," says Dre. "Cube actually quarterbacked it. He went out and got the first draft for the script done. I read it and was like, 'OK, we can work with this. We can turn this into something.' And when [director F.] Gary Gray got on board, that was it. I was in."

Dr. Dre (right), portrayed by Corey Hawkins (left) in the N.W.A movie, did not initially want to make the film.

N.W.A Interviews & Related Videos

Further explore the Straight Outta Compton true story via the N.W.A interviews below. See Eazy-E appear on Arsenio in a bathrobe and listen to Ice Cube reflect on Eazy-E and N.W.A.

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