Earlier this month, an enterprising Ice Cube fan in Australia uploaded a bootleg recording of the trailer for the upcoming N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton, which the rapper showed during a concert in Sydney.
Though the video quality isn’t the best, the clip offers a clear look at what the movie has in store. Over a montage of a DJ cutting records, LAPD officers patrolling the block and a low-rider bouncing through a crowd, Paul Giamatti, who plays Jerry Heller — N.W.A.’s manager and the co-founder of Ruthless Records — sets the scene. “Let me tell you what I see here: A lot of raw talent, swagger, bravado. People are scared of you guys, they think you’re dangerous, but you have a unique voice — the world needs to hear it.”
The rest of the clip focuses on the key players, Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins) and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr., the rapper’s actual son), and shows the turbulence surrounding the band’s rise to fame. Amidst shots of Dre during a prison stint and Eazy-E telling off Heller (“You’ve got your way of dealing with it, I’ve got mine”), the trailer boasts footage that captures the torrid conditions of South Central Los Angeles, which informed the group’s game-changing sound.
During an interview with radio station KCRW in April, director F. Gary Gray — who was then holding open auditions for the five members of N.W.A. — spoke about the importance of making a movie that solidified the band’s cultural importance by placing them in the proper historical context. “It’s not unlike Social Network or American Graffiti where you take a place and time in America, especially as it relates to popular culture, and you see the shift, and they were right there and created part of the pivot that America took in entertainment,” he said.