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NewsOne Now host Roland Martin recently spoke with Jason Mitchell (Easy-E), Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre) and O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (Ice Cube) about their experiences channeling NWA for the new hip-hop biopic Straight Outta Compton.

About Straight Outta Compton from the film’s official Facebook page:

In 1987, five young men, using brutally honest rhymes and hardcore beats, put their frustration and anger about life in the most dangerous place in America into the most powerful weapon they had: their music. Taking us back to where it all began, Straight Outta Compton tells the true story of how these cultural rebels—armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent—stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world’s most dangerous group, N.W.A. And as they spoke the truth that no one had before and exposed life in the hood, their voice ignited a social revolution that is still reverberating today.

Mitchell told Martin there were many aspects of NWA that no one knows about, while Hawkins said the iconic group “had their finger on the pulse.”

“I feel like they were at first creating music for their neighborhood. They wanted to be hood-stars. They wanted to make Compton proud, and then when they started rapping about the things that started becoming hot-button issues — that’s when it became an issue. That’s when usually people pull they foot off the gas — that’s when they (NWA) put their foot on the gas,” he said.

Martin asked the trio if they were surprised to learn about how the FBI, police, and other forces were coming after NWA at the height of their popularity.

“Absolutely,” said Mitchell. “They had so many more problems. They had wars going on in the world.” He considered the music of NWA a form of “non-violent protest,” adding it’s “uncanny” to know the type of attraction the group received “just by speaking some truths.”

O’Shea Jackson, Jr., who makes his big screen debut as his father Ice Cube, told Martin his parents kept him “very informed, because if you let your child out into the world and you don’t know about reality — you don’t know the rules of the game before you play — you are going to lose.”

“They’ve always been very open about those who may have been against my father’s words or what he had to say or him speaking his mind, so it was really nothing in this film besides some rambunctiousness here and there that I didn’t really know about,” he continued.

Knowing behind the scenes details is what “fueled” Jackson to go after the role of Cube. Jackson detailed the two-year process he went through auditioning for the role and said because this is his “family’s legacy,” the movie had to be “as authentic as possible.”

Watch Roland Martin’s interview with Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, and O’Shea Jackson, Jr. in the video clip above.

Straight Outta Compton premieres in theaters Friday, August, 14. Make sure you check out the movie that speaks to the foundation of one of the most important groups in the history of music. Don’t forget to get your own personalized Straight Outta Compton meme at

Be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


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