After ‘Compton’ Success, DJ Premier Eyes Gang Starr Biopic
The overwhelming success of N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton may cause Hollywood execs to start digging around for more hip-hop backstories to plunder. If veteran producer DJ Premier, who worked with Dr. Dre on the latter’s “Animals” track for new album Compton, has his way, his former group Gang Starr will be next on the slate for a biopic.
The producer has begun working with the sister of Keith “Guru” Elam, the rapper who worked with Premier on six albums before passing away in 2010, to turn his vision into reality, but stresses that authenticity trumps speed. “I told her I need some time; there’s no rush,” Premier tells Rolling Stone. “It took over 20 years to do N.W.A and Dre told me, ‘I wanted to do it because I didn’t want [anyone] to mess with what N.W.A stood for in the movie and not have it weaken our legacy,’ and it’s the same thing with Gang Starr.”
While Straight Outta Compton rankled some critics by omitting notable parts of the group’s career — specifically Dr. Dre’s vicious assault against hip-hop journalist Dee Barnes — the film’s verisimilitude dwarfed that of comparable biopics.
It’s a trait Premier hopes to emulate. ”All the crazy stuff we did that a lot of people don’t know about has to be included in order for it to be authentic,” Premier says. “I lived with Guru — I knew him well — and know the stuff he really went through. All the wild groupie parties; all the shootings, everything. We went through crazy, crazy shit, and in order for it be as authentic as Straight Outta Compton, it has to be pretty much like that. We went through a wild, wild journey.”
O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Ice Cube’s son, deftly plays his father in the movie. And while Premier won’t have any of his family enter Hollywood, he expects the same level of accuracy.
“Look how accurate the actors were for Compton. I’d want our movie to be the same exact way,” Premier says. “Like, Gravy played Biggie Smalls very well in Notorious. I want something like that, where the demeanor, the voices, the actions are all dead on. Ice Cube’s son had to go through the ringer of being a professional thing. I want it be as authentic as possible… I want to cover everything that really went down with us; we’d have to go through our own career. I’d be as hands-on as Dre.”