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COMPTON,
A COMMENTARY

The import of next Friday's premiere of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton and Dr. Dre’s companion piece, Compton, a Soundtrack, dropping tomorrow, goes far beyond movie grosses, album sales and track streams. During the groundbreaking group’s heyday in the late ’80s, the rage they expressed was perceived as gratuitous by many casual observers. But more than a quarter century later, that rage and the harsh truths that inspired it possess a disturbing relevance and immediacy, given Ferguson, Baltimore, Trayvon Martin and far too many other examples of racial injustice.

During the groundbreaking group’s heyday in the late ’80s, the rage they expressed was perceived as gratuitous by many casual observers. But more than a quarter century later, that rage and the harsh truths that inspired it possess a disturbing relevance and immediacy, given Ferguson, Baltimore, Trayvon Martin and far too many other examples of racial injustice.

The dialogue has already begun across America, and it’s sure to intensify during the coming days. This morning on KSPN, ESPN’s L.A. sports talk outlet, for example, Marcellus Wiley and Max Kellerman about the Lakers, the Dodgers and NFL camps, instead devoting a good chunk of their shift to this very subject. Wiley, an uber-fan of N.W.A. and friend of Ice Cube, had rented a theater for a preview showing of the film prior to release for 200 invited guests before Cube personally invited him to the world premiere.

Clearly, the significance of the sociocultural impact of the film and album’s releases can’t possibly be overstated. Much more on this subject to follow.   

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