In 1988, N.W.A released their first album Straight Outta Compton, which dealt with their struggles growing up in the hood and the violence they saw from the police. Nearly 30 years later, the biopic about the world’s most dangerous group hit theaters in 2015. The film was got mostly positive reviews and made a ton of money at the box office.
Straight Outta Compton was even the highest-grossing music biopic until this year when Bohemian Rhapsody took its place. Fans have been jamming to N.W.A’s lyrics for years, but there are some things about the making of their biopic which you may have not known.
10 Eazy E’s Son Was Considered For The Film
O’Shea Jackson Jr. bears a striking resemblance to his father, but none of the other actors in the film are related to the people they portray in the movie. Eazy-E had multiple children with multiple different women, but Jason Mitchell was chosen to play the rapper. However, Lil Eazy-E was considered for the role. Since Eazy-E was at the center of the film, Ice Cube needed to find someone who was “a little more polished” and someone with “a lot of range”.
TMZ reported that Lil-Eazy was furious that he wasn’t cast as his father, but Lil-Eazy put those rumors to rest. Eazy-E’s son told The Rolling Stone that he helped Mitchell embrace his father’s legacy and thinks of Ice Cube as a father figure.
9 Suge Knight Killed Someone During Production
Suge Knight was introduced in Straight Outta Compton as a supportive figure to Dr. Dre, but things quickly turned sideways. Knight was seen as a very violent and manipulative person in the movie, and things aren’t much different in real life. Knight was apparently furious about how he was being portrayed in the film and threatened F. Gary Gray multiple times.
In 2015, it escalated even further when Suge Knight invited himself to a promotional shoot for Straight Outta Compton. Knight got into some sort of argument and ran over two people with his truck. One man was killed, while the other was seriously injured. Suge Knight is currently serving a 28-year sentence at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.
8 Arabian Prince Wasn’t Upset About Being Left Outta Compton
For long-time fans of N.W.A, it was probably surprising to not see Arabian Prince in the movie. Arabian Prince was one of the founding members of N.W.A but left the group due to royalty disputes. Despite being a crucial member of N.W.A’s beginnings, he was completely absent from the film. Prince believes he was absent from the movie since he had to sue Ruthless Records in the ‘90s after Eazy-E’s death.
Ruthless Records is now controlled by Tomica Wright (Eazy’s widow), who was also the executive producer on Straight Outta Compton. Despite saying that he was actually present during a lot of scenes in the movie, Prince said he wasn’t bitter about it and understood how the film business works.
7 Michael B. Jordan Almost Played Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre was played by Corey Hawkins in Straight Outta Compton, but Michael B. Jordan almost got the role. Universal apparently wanted Jordan for the role and even got Dre’s approval himself, but things didn’t work out. Jordan was contracted to film Fantastic Four, which ultimately made him miss out on the role.
Fantastic Four bombed at the box office and was panned by critics, so acting in Straight Outta Compton definitely would have been better for Jordan. Despite not playing Dr. Dre, Jordan has had a successful acting career, with Black Panther and Creed both being hits.
6 Movie Theaters Hired Extra Security For The Film’s Opening Weekend
While Straight Outta Compton dealt with young black men facing oppression from police officers, several movie theaters across the country hired extra security for the film’s opening weekend. Due to the rise of gun violence in the country and the incidents that had recently happened at screenings of films like Trainwreck and Mad Max: Fury Road, some theaters thought they needed additional security for Straight Outta Compton's opening weekend.
Universal even issued a statement on the matter saying, “The studio has not solicited enhanced security for theaters who will begin showing it this weekend, but has partnered with those exhibitors who have requested support for their locations.”
5 O’Shea Jackson Jr. Had To Work For The Role
Despite O’Shea Jackson Jr. looking very similar to his father, he wasn’t just given the role in Straight Outta Compton. The role of Ice Cube was O’Shea Jackson Jr.’s first acting gig and just like everyone else, he had to work to get the part.
Jackson revealed that he had gone to acting classes for two years in order to win the part and even admitted that he wouldn’t have been able to watch someone else portray his father on the big screen. Jackson even went as far as saying the experience of watching someone act like his father would have been nauseating.
4 F. Gary Gray Makes A Cameo
F. Gary Gray may have directed Straight Outta Compton, but he also made a cameo in the film. Gray plays the role of Greg Mack, a DJ who plays Eazy-E’s record on the radio early on in the film. Greg Mack was actually a radio DJ who hosted the Mack Attack on KDAY.
Ice Cube’s acting debut was in the film Boyz n the Hood, but Cube is also well-known for writing and starring in Friday back in 1995. F. Gary Gray also directed this film, which came out the same year Eazy-E passed away.
3 Dr. Dre Wasn’t Originally Behind The Project
Dr. Dre produced Straight Outta Compton along with F. Gary Gray, Ice Cube, and Tomica Wright, but Dre wasn’t originally keen on the movie being made. When the idea was first brought to him, Dre said, “I don’t want anything to pour water on my legacy.”
He even called the first few drafts “corny”, but eventually he got a hold of a script that he could get behind. Ice Cube’s vision and the addition of F. Gary Gray as the director ultimately got Dre to join the project. Dre even donated all of his royalties from Compton, the album he made for the film, to build a performing arts center in Compton.
2 There Was A Drive-By Shooting During Production
Not only did Suge Knight kill someone while the film was being made, but there was also a drive-by shooting during production. In 2014, reports came out of a drive-by shooting right near the set of Straight Outta Compton. Apparently, someone (not the cast or crew) had thrown up gang signs at a car passing by, which caused the shooting.
One Compton citizen was hit in the shooting, but it wasn’t a fatal shot. The filmmakers for Straight Outta Compton had been setting up across the street from the Compton Courthouse where the shooting took place.
1 DJ Jazzy Jeff Worked On The Film
Jeffrey Townes is most known for his collaborations with Will Smith as the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Together the pair made several gold and platinum albums throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, and DJ Jazzy Jeff was even a character on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The DJ is well known as Jazz on The Fresh Prince, but he also worked on Straight Outta Compton.
Whenever Dre (Corey Hawkins) hits the turntable in Straight Outta Compton, fans are actually hearing DJ Jazzy Jeff’s work. Apparently, Dre called Jeff three times, with Jeff thinking the first two calls were prank calls. When Dre asked Jeff to work on the film, he called him and said, “When it comes down to the authenticity of the DJ performances, the scratching, there was no one else in the world that I wanted but you. You were there, you understand. Make me look good.