Straight Outta Compton Sucks, And Here’s Why

straight outta compton

You don’t need me to write out the lyrics between the line breaks. And you probably don’t need me to write out the tales of their misdeeds—from assault accusations to bigotry to XXX 2. No, the Internet is swarming with heavy-handed think-pieces on the place of NWA in a #BlackLivesMatter world—as it should be. It’s a matter worth discussing, the effect of the one of the most profitable, aggressive hip-hop groups on the state of black America.

Let’s just talk about the shitty movie they made.

The only character the viewer feels closer to after seeing Straight Outta Compton is Eazy-E, with whom the director and producers (NWA survivors Dre and Cube) feel exclusively willing to fuck around with, because he’s dead and therefore can’t personally object to his on-screen portrayal. The film is largely an exploration of the rise and fall of Eazy as paralleled by the meteoric careers/sell outs of his teammates. In one of the only instances of character development, we see Eazy coached by Dre as he sheepishly tries to throw down the opening line of Boyz n the Hood, only to be bolstered by proper encouragement by the brotherly Doc, framing the warped reality that the movie wants us to believe.

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One Direction’s Harry Styles Visits Villanova Pizza Shop

In case the screaming teenage girls in the distance didn’t tip you off, One Direction is officially in Philadelphia. They’ll appear at Lincoln Financial Field tonight in their international On the Road Again Tour.

Somehow 1D frontman Harry Styles made it over to Villanova University last night to stop at a pizza shop near campus called Campus Corner. Naturally, the young clientele went wild, and Twitter blew up with evidence of his arrival:

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The Marleys—and the Spirit of Bob—Lit Up the Mann Center Saturday Night

Stephen “Ragga” and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley held court with a house full of loyal fans during Saturday night’s Catch a Fire concert, the kick-off of a ten-city tour, at the Mann Center. The contrast between the two sons of Bob Marley and their sets — Stephen went first, then Damian — gives a nod to the foundation and the future of Marley’s musical legacy. The headliners completed a day of performances as marijuana-scented breezes swirled through the open-air venue. The stage was complete with a Rastafarian flag being waved by a member of their crew, a golden lion sculpture and Rasta red-gold-and-green lighting bathing the stage. 

The annual Reggae in the Park festival opened in the afternoon, with a lineup of acts on the Main Stage, including Bob Marley’s grandsons, Skip and Jo Mersa, as well as performers Morgan Heritage and Tarrus Riley, with more acts on the smaller Crescendo Stage. Jamaican barbecue and Jamaican-themed crafts were on sale in stalls around the edge of the lawn. Families, couples, and friends milled about, some dancing, some lounging on the lawn, and some watched from their seats. While the lines for the picnic food were long—up to 40 minutes to get some jerk-chicken—the chill Bob Marley “one love” vibe was thick in the air. 

Stephen Marley | Photo by Darco Lalevic

Stephen Marley | Photo by Darco Lalevic

By 8 pm, under a full moon, Stephen Marley, opened with his father’s fun anthem “Lively Up Yourself.” Stephen has become a kind of “keeper of the flame” and mentor to his younger brothers, producing Grammy-winning songs and albums for them as a co-founder of the Ghetto Youths International recording label. He delivered many of his father’s classics at an up-tempo beat during his hour-long set, with a few feeling rushed at times. The crowd responded to Stephen’s obvious pleasure at covering iconic songs of his father including “Roots, Rock, Reggae,” “Is this Love,” “Buffalo Soldiers,” “Iron Lion Zion,” and “Three Little Birds.” At times the show felt like a group sing-along with enthusiastic, swaying fans accompanying Stephen from their seats. He peppered his songs with exhortations to “Jah,” “feeling Irie,” and “Zion,” and the fans cheered harder. A few of his original songs — “No Cigarette Smoking,” “Hey Baby, “ “Iron Bars” — made it into the set as well as a brief appearance of his newest single, “Rock Stone.” Stephen finished up by introducing his son with obvious paternal pride, “Here’s Jo Mersa, my child, my seed.” Stephen’s genial stage presence, reverence for his father’s body of work and his own well-crafted songs serve as a foundation for the bold new reggae sounds of his youngest brother. Damian’s vibe is something different altogether, as he took the stage with a fierce, commanding rockstar presence.

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7 Shows to See in Philly This Week

The First Family of Reggae Returns to Philly this Saturday

Stephen Marley

Stephen Marley

The good news for all you reggae fans is that Philly welcomes Stephen “Ragga” Marley, Bob Marley’s second son, Damian “Jr. Gong,” Bob’s youngest son, and Jo Mersa, his grandson, this Saturday as they kick off their Catch a Fire tour at the Mann Center’s Reggae Fest. The bummer is we don’t get even more of the Marleys: No Ziggy, Julian, Ky-mani.

It’s notable that those Marley men are now all older than their father was when he died in 1981 at age 36. Stephen is 43 and Damian is 37. Yet, Bob Marley’s musical presence and message of love and tolerance in the world seem as in demand as ever. (Forbes magazine’s 2014 ranking puts Bob Marley behind only Michael Jackson and Elvis in postmortem earning power. And only the Marley estate’s income is on the rise.). I spoke with Stephen, an eight-time Grammy winner, over the phone to talk about Saturday’s upcoming show and his impressions of Philadelphia.

And yes, it did sound like I was talking to Bob himself. Their voices are eerily similar. And yes, he did address me as “mon” a few times.

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Hanson, Avicii to Play Free Forbes Under 30 Music Festival at Penn’s Landing

This year’s Forbes Under 30 Summit, the annual, three-day gathering of young entrepreneurs, will be capped off with a free music festival. Headliners announced today include Hanson (all grown up!), Avicii and electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling. The show takes place on October 6th from 7 to 11 pm at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing.

All headliners will speak during the festival, with additional remarks from musician Sara Bareilles and the co-founders of, Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory.

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Taylor Swift Gets Banner at L.A.’s Staples Center — Before the Clippers

In the course of her rather short career Wyomissing native Taylor Swift has already sold out 16 shows at Los Angeles’s Staples Center. She’s in the midst of playing five of those this week. You’ve no doubt heard about them on the news, especially her star-studded special-guest appearances, which have ranged from everyone from Mary J. Blige and Chris Rock to Alanis Morissette.

So to honor her achievement of having the most sold-out performances at the venue, L.A. Lakers player Kobe Bryant showed up one night to present her a covetable banner that will hang in the rafters alongside sports heroes who played and dominated there, folks like other Lakers greats Magic Johnson and Wilt Chamberlain.

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John Mayer and Grateful Dead Members to Perform at Wells Fargo Center

Dead & Company, the four-piece band that comprises three Grateful Dead members and singer/guitarist John Mayer, announced today that they will perform at the Wells Fargo Center this fall.

The show comes on the heels of this summer’s “Fare Thee Well” tour, five sold-out stadium shows celebrating the Dead’s 50th anniversary that brought together four core members, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. At the end of the tour, Lesh went on to play for his own band, but Hart, Kreutzmann and Weir wanted to stay on the road.

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7 Shows to See in Philly This Week

WATCH: Bon Jovi Can Sing in Mandarin

Bon Jovi is sending hearts aflutter across China in a new video that features the New Jersey-born rocker crooning an achingly sweet tune in Mandarin.

Released on Chinese Valentine’s Day, the song is a cover of a ballad called “The Moon Represents My Heart.” It was made famous in the 1970s by Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng. (Hear her version here.) The release coincides with his upcoming tour across Asia that will include stops in Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing and more. According to the description on the YouTube video, this will be his band’s first time performing in China.

Hear the tune in the video above. It’s dubbed over footage of Bon Jovi recording the song in the studio.

(h/t Wall Street Journal via Max Rettig)

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