Don’t be another sequel.” The line comes from N.W.A’s “Express Yourself,” a track that deals with issues of censorship and a trend within the rap community of following rather than breaking new ground.
The group, whose members included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella, fought hard against those issues during their too-brief five years together, something that Andrea Berloff will presumably attempt to capture in the biopic she’s scripting.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Berloff, who wrote Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center,” is working now on “Straight Outta Compton,” also the title of the 1988 double-platinum album that featured “Express Yourself.” The film will follow N.W.A (short for N—az With Attitude) from their early days in the mid-’80s through the success of their initial albums and on to their eventual breakup, which was not a friendly parting.
Straight Outta Compton is considered one of rap’s most influential albums, even though it drew much criticism at the time of its release for the controversial Ice Cube-penned single “F— tha Police.”
The film is set up at New Line, with Cube and business partner Matt Alvarez producing along with Tomika Woods, the widow of Eazy-E. The MC died in 1995 at the age of 31, just a couple of weeks after revealing that he had been diagnosed with AIDS. It is not known whether the biopic will cover this period, but E’s condition did bring the troubled group to reconcile their differences.
Plans for the N.W.A biopic were first revealed in March of last year, with only the producers named. The group’s life together has never been featured in a film before, though they were memorably parodied in Rusty Cundieff’s 1994 mockumentary “Fear of a Black Hat,” which focused on the fictional rap group N.W.H (N—az With Hats).