During the 57th annual Grammy Awards, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube appeared in a commercial where the two rap legends drove around Compton and talked about how now is the right time to release the N.W.A film Straight Outta Compton. Immediately following the broadcast, an uncensored version of the ad dropped on YouTube, complete with cameos by the Game and Kendrick Lamar, as an introduction for the red-band trailer of the upcoming N.W.A biopic.
“When I think of N.W.A, it wasn’t even music to me, it was a real lifestyle,” Lamar says. “Brothas from my neighborhood that made it out.” In the trailer, we watch as the disparate members of the group – especially Dr. Dre (portrayed by Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (played by Jason Mitchell) and Ice Cube (the rapper’s own son O’Shea Jackson, Jr. fills the role) – come together to form the iconic crew. The trailer also spotlights Paul Giamatti as N.W.A manager and Ruthless Records co-founder Jerry Heller.
“Our art is a reflection of our reality,” Ice Cube says during a press conference where the group is criticized by media for its profane and violent lyrics. In the trailer, we also see the uproar that N.W.A’s “Fuck tha Police” creates in their hometown, showing how the song was virtually prescient of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, uniting Bloods and Crips in a battle against law enforcement. “They try to tell us what the fuck we can’t play,” Cube tells a packed arena after the song was banned from performance.
While Ice Cube’s son was cast to play his father, giving the actor plenty of insight on the man he was portraying, producers opted not to have Lil Eazy-E fill his dad’s famed L.A. Kings cap. However, Eazy’s son told Rolling Stone that he was helping to mentor Jason Mitchell, who was cast in the role.
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“Jason has come to my grandmother’s house where I was born and raised, where my father was born and raised and where N.W.A started,” Lil Eazy-E says. “I reached out to him to give him the support and any advice he needs. He has a big burden on his shoulders to bring forth the character and legacy of my father and the legacy of N.W.A, period.”
Straight Outta Compton will hit theaters August 14, 2015. Dr. Dre and Ice Cube both serve as producers on the film, and their introduction for the trailer was filmed the same day Suge Knight allegedly killed a man following a hit-and-run while visiting the shoot.