We recently caught wind of Director F. Gary Gray’s plans to direct a biopic about the seminal gangsta rap crew NWA, and we trust him to do it justice. The man responsible for Friday and Set It Off, along with music videos starring Dre and Ice Cube themselves, has got to be the one for the job. Still, we feel compelled to share our unsolicited advice on the matter of casting. That’s why we’ve carefully selected a dream team of young actors and musicians to fill the shoes of The World’s Most Dangerous Group. Mr. Gray can thank us later.
[Editor's Note: NSFW lyrics to follow.]
Rakim Mayers (A$AP Rocky) as Eric Wright (Eazy-E)
Check out A$AP Rocky’s video “Peso” for a spot-on tribute to the late NWA frontman. (Sample lyric: “Couple A, B, C's, bad b*tch double D's / Popping E, I don't give a F, told you I'm a G.”) Intentional or not, this similarly laid-back up-and-coming rapper resembles Eazy-E in style and frequently in lyrical delivery, with his flow as natural as his charming confidence. Mayers would be advised to heighten both the pitch of his voice and the playfulness of his demeanor in order to better capture his muse, but it’s a job he could handle with care. In interviews, the rapper displays the maturity and keen self-awareness needed for a seamless crossover into the film world, and his loyal fans would gladly follow him across the divide. Plus, his presence and serious dedication would lend raw credibility to the project, thereby launching it to a whole new level of relevance for young viewers.
Evan Ross as O’Shae Jackson (Ice Cube)
Though Ice Cube was just 19 years old when “Straight Outta Compton” debuted in 1988, he’s to thank for roughly fifty per cent of the album’s lyrical content. In those days, he was a brainy, boldly defiant poet with eyes full of mischief and a limitless future. His creative pursuits were reportedly encouraged by supportive parents, helping him to eventually become one of America’s most celebrated urban storytellers. The measured and very talented 23 year-old Ross (ATL, Pride) could powerfully convey the paradox of disillusioned contempt and spirited optimism that made Ice Cube such a revelation at the time. The pretty boy musician and actor would need to pack on a few pounds and grow out his wavy locks to transform into the baby-faced wunderkind, but he’d likely turn out an award-winning performance.
Kendrick Lamar as Lorenzo Patterson (MC Ren)
Like the members of NWA, Lamar was born and bred in Compton, and he’s quickly distinguishing himself as one of the sharpest writers and hard-workers in the game. This chosen boy is perfectly suited for the part. Not only is he tight with Dre (collaborating on an impressive new track called “The Recipe”); he also happens to bear an uncanny physical resemblance to Patterson. As the beloved, impeccable MC Ren- Ice Cube’s right-hand lyric man, authoring the other half of Straight Outta Compton’s songbook- Lamar would effortlessly apply his beautifully developed verbal precision to Ren’s rapid-fire tongue-twisters and clever turns of phrase.
Scott Ramon Seguro Miscudi (Kid Cudi) as Andre Young (Dr. Dre)
Following a successful stint on HBO’s How to Make it In America, the entertaining and innovative musical artist Kid Cudi expressed a desire to conquer more challenging dramatic roles in the future. With a good shave, a bit of bulking up and a hard slap in the face, he could easily channel the hardened perfectionist Doctor. It’d be a career-making breakout role that would allow him to make good on his promise to surprise his fans and get back to his roots in rapping. Dre, a star hip hop producer and self-appointed Master of Mixology, should be called upon to bestow his blessing and play mentor, having produced Kid Cudi’s “I Do My Thing” a couple years ago. That way, when the experimental, psychedelic Cudi raps “Some don’t agree with how I do this / I get straight, meditate like a Buddhist / I’m droppin’ flava, my behavior is hereditary / But my technique is very necessary,” we’ll hear him loud and clear.
Kirk Randle (Kirko Bangz) as Antoine Carraby (DJ Yella)
It’d be cool to see another contemporary musician, the increasingly popular 22 year-old college kid Randle, round out the cast and try his hand at acting for this endeavor. The rapper and sometimes-singer could serve as a passable version of a youthful Carraby as long as he promises not to break out his signature grin, and he shares an understated demeanor with the notably quiet DJ-cum-pornographer. Though Yella very rarely dropped production duties for long enough to drop a rhyme over the course of his career, the skilled young Kirko would have him covered in an emergency.
Ermias Asghedom (Nipsey Hussle) as Calvin Broadus Jr. (Snoop Dogg)
And it almost goes without saying that Nipsey Hussle should absolutely be booked to portray Snoop Dogg in the very likely event he’ll be featured at some point in the film. An audition would be the most frivolous waste of time.
Who do you think should star in Straight Outta Compton?