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You couldn’t ask for a better behind-the-scenes tour guide for Straight Outta Compton than Fab Five Freddy, the hip-hop legend and former host of MTV’s seminal Yo! MTV Raps.
Way back in 1988, Freddy traveled to Compton, California, to conduct a now-classic interview with N.W.A., the then-unknown quintet comprised of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella—a few of those names have, of course, since become iconic. The Yo! MTV Raps appearance was to promote the group’s debut album, Straight Outta Compton, and was partly conducted on a moving flatbed. It remains a prime example of hip-hop journalism at its peak, long before the Internet’s blog culture took over and rendered on-the-ground moments of its kind essentially obsolete.
Twenty-seven years later, Fab Five Freddy headed back to Compton for something that none of N.W.A.'s members could’ve imagined in 1988. In the video below, Freddy sits down with Dre, Cube, Ren and Yella to discuss the new N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, in theaters on August 14.
Executive produced by Dre and Cube, and directed by their longtime collaborator/friend F. Gary Gray (Friday), Straight Outta Compton recounts the group’s origins and highly controversial early days as parents’ and politicians’ worst nightmares, the purveyors of what the media dubbed as "gangsta rap." For added authenticity’s sake, Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., plays his father; for a dash of prestige, Paul Giamatti co-stars as the group’s manager, Jerry Heller. And if the film’s trailers are any indication, the film could prove to be more 8 Mile than Notorious—that’s a good thing.
Go behind the scenes with this new Freddy-hosted video, and after that, revisit his original ’88 meeting with N.W.A.