The N.W.A. movie biopic, depicting the rise and — presumably — fall of arguably the most important hip-hip group in the history of that musical genre, has found its first three cast members. While two are unknowns getting their big breaks in the Universal Pictures production, one of the cast members is the 23-year-old son of the real-life character he’ll portray in the film.
Ice Cube, the 45-year-old rapper-turned-actor, who was one of the founding members and chief lyricist of N.W.A. — and whose real name is O’Shea Jackson — will be portrayed by his own son, O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Interestingly, Jackson Jr. is already older than his father was when N.W.A’s seminal debut album, Straight Outta Compton, was released. When the album came out in 1988, Ice Cube was just 19 years old.
The film is also set to be titled Straight Outta Compton. The title of the album, and film, referred to the hometown of N.W.A, the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, California, which in the 1980s was a predominantly African-American city torn and terrorized by gang violence.
N.W.A. depicted life growing up in Compton on the album, with songs such as “Gangsta, Gangsta,” “Dope Man,” and “F*** Tha Police.” Ice Cube’s frank, explicit lyrics chronicled street violence, drug use, and confrontations with the police from the unapologetic first-person perspective of gang members themselves.
The N.W.A. movie is set to be released by Universal on August 14 of 2015.
The two other cast members hired so far are Marcus Callendar as Dr. Dre aka Andre Young, who went on to become one of the most successful producers in hip-hop and recently became the first certified rap billionaire, and Jason Mitchell as the group’s founder Eazy-E, who in 1987 was a 14-year-old drug dealer who started N.W.A and his own record label, Ruthless Records, with money he made from his illegal business.
Eazy-E, whose real name was Eric Wright, died in 1995 at age 31, reportedly from factors related to AIDS.
Ice Cube posted the first picture of the new cast members on Twitter Tuesday.
— Ice Cube (@icecube) June 18, 2014
The photo depicts Jackson Jr., Mitchell and Callendar in front, with the real Ice Cube on the left rear and Dr. Dre on the right. The film’s director, F. Gary Gray, is in the middle of the rear row.
Universal delayed the release of the next installment in the Jason Bourne spy action franchise, which had been set for August 14 of next year, to make room for the N.W.A. movie on that date.