One of this year’s most highly-anticipated films Straight Outta Compton, a biopic about legendary hip-hop group N.W.A. and their rise to fame, opens in theaters everywhere Friday, August 14.
The film garnered rave reviews from early media screenings and spawned one of the best social media campaigns of the year with ‘Straight Outta’ memes.
But the movie isn’t free of criticism. Many noticed NWA’s misogyny was largely ignored in the film directed by F. Gary Gray (who also directed Friday and Set it Off).
With renewed interest in N.W.A as a group and their lyrical content, group members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, have had to face the music about their lyrics and mistakes.
In an new interview with Rolling Stone, the two hip-hop legends tell their side of the story.
Cube says his goal for Straight Outta Compton was to provide the context behind N.W.A’s songs.
“You had to see why we did the music,” he said. “You know, not just ‘we were some angry n****s out of South Central,’ but why did we make those kind of records? We were living in the middle of dope dealing, gangbanging, police brutality, f***ing Reaganomics, and there was nowhere to escape.”
Dre was asked about his treatment of women, most notably his 1991 assault on TV host Dee Barnes, and the allegations of abuse from his 1990s girlfriend Michel’le.
“I made some f***ing horrible mistakes in my life,” said Dre. I was young, f***ing stupid. I would say all the allegations aren’t true—some of them are. Those are some of the things I would like to take back. It was really f***ed up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there’s no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.”
When it comes to N.W.A’s lyrical treatment of women, they weren’t always the most gentlemanly and left a lot to be desired when they referred to women as hoes, bitches, etc.
“If you’re a bitch, you’re probably not going to like us,” said Cube.
Well damn, sir.
“If you’re a ho, you probably don’t like us. If you’re not a ho or a bitch, don’t be jumping to the defense of these despicable females. Just like I shouldn’t be jumping to the defense of no punks or no cowards or no slimy son of a bitches that’s men. I never understood why an upstanding lady would even think we’re talking about her.”
As expected, Cube’s quote is causing a lot of debate on social media and across the interwebs, mainly because he’s carved out an acting career of being a family-friendly figure with his films.
When you look at the history of N.W.A and their lyrical content, one can only imagine if the Internet existed at that time how many think pieces would have been written. And we shudder to think what would have happened if social media had been around during the time Dre assaulted Barnes.
Misogyny is still something like the no so distant cousin in hip-hop, which is still a fairly young genre of music. Was hip-hop bred into a misogynistic society? No doubt.
Should artists, especially those of today, be more mindful of their lyrics regarding women Absolutely.
Should hip-hop as a whole carry the torch for ending misogyny? We have a long way to go in society before that happens.