After first being announced in 2009, the biopic about gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A. is finally starting to pick up some steam. As we reported in April 2012, Straight Outta Compton will be directed by F. Gary Gray (of the Italian Job fame), who is currently holding auditions for the roles of the five major characters/N.W.A. members, with castings so far carried on in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Gardena, CA.
KCRW‘s reporter Avishay Artsy visited the Gardena audition, talking to prospective Ice Cubes and Dres, and interviewing Gray about his criteria in deliberating actors for the parts. The director said he’s looking for “a certain thing that a person from the hood has,” adding that “street credibility is just that thing. When you watch American Idol and they have that “It Factor” – there’s a “Hood Factor.” Gray admitted he was happy with what he’s seen thus far from what Artsy described as “hundreds of young African-American man […] lined up outside, [some of them] dressed up like N.W.A. rapper Eazy-E”).
The KCRW story also touches on the subjects of N.W.A.’s crime-mythologizing lyrics, their initial impact and subsequent influence, as well as the disturbing lack of social commentary in today’s rap. Listen to the full recording below: