Movie Review: “Straight Outta Compton”
O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti
F. Gary Gray
Considering that core N.W.A. members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube are producers of the film about the band that made them superstars, it will surprise no one to discover that “Straight Outta Compton” delivers an almost laughably squeaky-clean version of their life stories between 1986 and 1995. There is no mention of Andre “Dr. Dre” Young’s assault of Dee Barnes (he tried to throw her down a flight of stairs, but not before slamming her into a brick wall), and while they show Eric “Eazy-E” Wright responding with, “But I ain’t no faggot,” upon hearing the news that he has AIDS, they do not mention that Eazy-E in fact issued a statement days before his death, making sure that the world knew that he in fact wasn’t no faggot, and that he contracted the virus the way God intended him to: through heterosexual intercourse, as if there is some nobility in that. We get it, Eazy – you’re not gay. But you’re still dead.
In spite of this whitewashing (it seems vaguely racist to use that phrase to describe a bunch of African-Americans), “Compton” is a highly entertaining film. The concert and studio sequences are intoxicating, and the performance of Ice Cube – by Cube’s oldest son, for crying out loud – is mesmerizing. It’s no reinvention of the musical biopic wheel by any means, but there is an adrenaline rush that comes with a film about a bunch of dirt-poor kids from Compton banding together, compromising nothing, and bending the rest of the world to their will.
The movie begins in 1986, giving the audience brief back stories of the five core members of N.W.A., while making no mention of any previous band affiliations the members had (of which there are several). Andre Young was a dreamer, a supreme DJ talent under pressure to make bank and take care of his baby. O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson was the main brain, equal parts poet and instigator. Eazy-E was the hustler who had the cash to make a recording happen. That recording was the Cube-penned “Boyz-n-the-Hood,” rapped by Eazy (who, if the movie is to be believed, couldn’t rap worth a damn at first) and was a massive hit out of the box. The song attracted the attention of manager Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), who used his contacts to land Eazy’s indie label Ruthless Records a distribution deal with Priority Records.
Read the rest of this entry »
The 5 Most Anticipated Albums from Major Music Publishers in 2014
The coming of a new year always has a strong effect on the music industry. Artists, labels and music publishers often focus their efforts on prepping releases and building hype, and it usually starts well before the holidays. 2014 is no different, with a handful of near-future releases already drumming up a great deal of excitement among music fans. Narrowing down which albums might actually be worth hearing, though, isn’t always easy given the plethora of releases scheduled for the coming six months.
2013 was certainly a great year for music, but there are plenty of reasons to believe that 2014 may even be more packed with top-caliber releases.
Here are 5 of the most anticipated major label releases scheduled to come out over the course of the next year:
1. Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes
Everyone knows Springsteen is The Boss for a reason, and his upcoming album High Hopes has a great deal of hype surrounding it, even if it isn’t exactly a proper new release (it’s a collection of odds and ends from Springsteen’s career). Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine guest stars, and there are also appearances from classic members of the E Street Band Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici. If you’re a Springsteen fan, this record will no doubt make you happy.
2. Dr. Dre – Detox
Hip hop fans hold Dr. Dre in high regard, and for good reason – he’s one of the godfathers of the genre. Given the history of his release schedule, though, it seems as if he has a hard time staying relevant. His first release in a handful of years, Detox is being called Dre’s return to the limelight, and will no doubt be one of the biggest rap releases in 2014. The record is full of cameos and even has its own blog for marketing and promotion purposes, making it one of the most anticipated releases for 2014. It’s still too early to tell whether or not it’ll be worth the hype though.
Read the rest of this entry »
HP Envy Computers
If you’re looking for a premium laptop, you should check out the HP ENVY line of personal computers. The first thing you’ll notice is these are beautiful machines as the design is truly impressive. The laptops also have aggressive styling with a brushed aluminum cover, soft-touch surfaces, and a red backlit keyboard. The metal construction gives these laptops a high-end feel you won’t find from most PC laptops.
We checked out the HP ENVY 14 Beats Edition. This notebook is built to deliver great sound with Beats Audio™. HP partnered with Dr. Dre to create a superior audio system featuring a redesigned headphone jack to reduce ground noise, a discrete amplifier for more power, a dedicated audio Island to minimize fan noise interference and a Function + B to engage Beats Audio. The difference in sound quality is noticeable with premium headphones and speakers, and the aluminum analog volume dial is a unique touch.
I liked the dark design of the ENVY 14 Beats Edition, but you can also check out the lighter aluminum color of the ENVY 15 and 17, both of which also feature more rounded edges as the design evolves.
I also liked the HP Radiance Backlit keyboard which features individual LEDs dedicated to each keycap. The keyboard also works with an advanced proximity sensor to illuminate when it detects a user approaching the notebook and deactivate after the user leaves. It’s these small details that make this machine impressive.
Other features include HP CoolSense technology, which automatically adjusts performance and internal fan settings for a noticeably cooler PC. I was impressed with the large HP ImagePad which provides precise multifinger touch navigation. You can use swiping gestures with two or four fingers for easy navigation and control.
The ENVYs are powered with the Intel® Core™ i5 processor2 with Turbo Boost Technology6. Check out the site for all the tech specs and you can find the machine that works best for your needs.
In a crowded PC world, it’s important to see manufacturers produce computers with some style and soul. The new ENVYs from HP definitely fit the bill and should be on your test list if you’re looking for something more than the standard laptops in the market today.
Posted in: Gadgets, Stuff to Buy
Tags: computer reviews, Dr. Dre, HP, HP CoolSense, HP ENVY 14 Beats Edition, HP Envy computers, HP ImagePad, HP laptops, laptop reviews, laptops, PC reviews, PCs, personal computer reviews, personal computers