A planned movie biopic about legendary rap group N.W.A. is finally moving forward after landing a new screenwriter for the project. The film Straight Outta Compton, named after the hip-hop stars' 1988 debut album, has been in production at New Line Cinema since 2009, but the project is reportedly in the process of being acquired by bosses at Universal Studios and they have hired new writer, Jonathan Herman, to rework the script. A previous draft had been penned by Andrew Berloff.
F. Gary Gray is still onboard to direct the movie, which will tell the story of Compton, California rappers Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella's rise to fame in the late 1980s and their subsequent split in 1991.
Ice Cube is set to co-produce the biopic.
Casting is currently underway.
Holograms of late hip-hop icons Ol' Dirty Bastard and Eazy-E have not been able to save touring rap festival Rock The Bells - event promoters have reportedly scrapped the remaining dates due to poor ticket sales. This weekend's (28-29Sep13) event at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. has been cancelled and reports suggest the planned festivities at New Jersey's Meadowlands Racetrack, scheduled for 4 and 5 October (13) have also been axed.
According to XXLmag.com, the festival bosses will take a $3 million (£2 million) loss.
The touring festival kicked off earlier this month (Sep13) with two events in California featuring J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Kid Cudi.
Headliners Wu-Tang Clan appeared with a virtual Ol' Dirty Bastard and a hologram of Eazy-E joined Bone Thugs-N-Harmony onstage.
WENNFive years after The Notorious B.I.G.'s life story was adapted for Hollywood, the long-delayed biopic of his bitter rival, Tupac Shakur, will also be heading for cinemas after Morgan Creek Productions confirmed this month that they are finalizing negotiations for the film to start shooting in 2014. Their feud may have been one of hip-hop's more tragic tales, but there are plenty of other rappers whose real-life narratives are worthy of gracing the big screen. Here's a look at five of the more eventful.Jay-ZRaised by his single mother, Jay-Z went from being a crack-dealing, brother-shooting teenager to the pop superstar-marrying, President shoulder-rubbing founder of a hip-hop empire worth $500 million. By far the ultimate rags-to-riches story.Eazy-EEric Wright allegedly earned up to $250,000 selling drugs in the mid-80s before realizing he could make even more money by becoming the Godfather of Gangsta Rap. Under the moniker of Eazy-E, he pioneered the West Coast sound with two solo albums and as a pivotal member of N.W.A before passing away due to complications from AIDS in 1995.
Lil' KimOne of the first female rappers to be accepted on the hardcore rap scene, Lil' Kim was thrown out of her house as a teen before she attracted the attention of Biggie Smalls. Three US Top 10 albums and a major beef with Foxy Brown then followed before she was sentenced to twelve months in prison for a perjury charge relating to a shooting outside a radio station.Rick RossOne of the more intriguing hip-hop back stories, Rick Ross worked as a correctional officer in the early '90s before finding fame at the relatively late age of 30. Since then he's nearly died after suffering multiple seizures, been the target of a drive-by shooting and kickstarted a rivalry with 50 Cent which many believe to be entirely faked.DMXPossibly more suited to a mini-series than a film, DMX has spent more time at the police station than the studio during the '00s, having been arrested for everything from animal cruelty to reckless driving -- resulting in six separate jail sentences -- while also finding the time to father ten children from several different women.
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As much as some people may be thanking their stars that the 1990s are over and Baja jackets are no longer cool, the fact remains that the decade had some of the best music ever. The '90s were coming off of the ridiculous excess of the '80s and went through a rollercoaster ride of numerous music genres.
Here’s a look at 7 artists that released their debut albums in the '90s and still have us pining for them.
Pearl Jam: Ten (1991) Ahhh, Ten – the album that launched a thousand crappy rock bands and horrendous singers who think their vocals are deep and profound (see: Scott Stapp, Chad Kroeger, Aaron Lewis, etc.). There could’ve been a legit Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam feud with Kurt Cobain telling Flipside magazine that Pearl Jam was nothing but “false alternative macho metal” when Ten came out, but unfortunately, Eddie Vedder is way too mature, reportedly reaching out to Cobain and ultimately getting on friendly terms before Cobain’s death. Ten took grunge into a whole new level and proved the diversity and lasting power of Pearl Jam. Dealing with everything from abortion to depression and murder to bullying, Ten was the perfect social commentary: effective without being preachy. The album also made Pearl Jam stand out in the grunge movement, as their sound was rooted more in classic rock than punk and low-fi.
Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted (1992) If you love indie rock (whatever that means to you), then props must be given to Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted. The band is constantly referred to as the most influential band of the '90s because of their ultimate reach over how the indie rock scene turned out. With their stream-of-thought lyrics, purposely shoddy production, and beautiful melodies, Pavement influenced just about every indie rocker that came out after them – what the Pixies and Sonic Youth did for grunge, Pavement did for a whole new generation of indie.
Dr. Dre: The Chronic (1992) One of the most influential albums in West Coast gangsta rap, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic is such a legendary album that it took Dre 7 years to make a worthy follow up. Dre’s debut solidified G-funk rap and also launched the career of Snoop Dogg. The Chronic also led to the legendary East vs. West rap beef that dominated rap scene in the '90s. The legendary “F**k Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)” took serious shots at Eazy-E and others, even using impersonators in his video, and all of a sudden rap beef was something more than “Yo mama’s so fat” jokes. The album also cemented Dre as a superstar producer, as the album boasted some of the slickest production that the genre had ever heard.
Liz Phair: Exile In Guyville (1993) According to Liz Phair, her crazy influential debut Exile in Guyville was a track-by-track response to the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St.. Sure Liz, whatever – the point is, Exile in Guyville managed to change both the alt rock scene and also the way people perceived female singer-songwriters. Though her lyrics may seem tame now, at the time it was surprising to hear a young woman sing about sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and crappy relationships. Her honesty was refreshing and gave women a voice that differed from the airhead pop songs that were previously associated with women. Though she never got the full recognition that she deserved, Phair helped pave the way for the angry/over-it rock chick to enter the mainstream.
Green Day: Dookie (1994) Okay, okay, so technically Dookie isn’t Green Day’s debut-debut album, but it is the band’s major label debut. Dookie was the record that took the band from playing at rowdy gigs to Bay Area kids at 924 Gilman to becoming known and emulated all over the world. After years of grunge, flannel, and low serotonin dominating the music world, all which was further exacerbated by Kurt Cobain’s suicide in April, 1994’s Dookie was a breath of fresh air, a testament to “F**k it all, let’s just have a blast.” Green Day is responsible for igniting the generally horrendous pop-punk movement of the '90s, but no one has been able to emulate the pop-punk perfection on Dookie, which succeeded in having all the elements of punk rock akin to bands like the Ramones: apathy, boredom, aggression, independence, and fun.
Oasis: Definitely Maybe (1994) Oasis’ debut album had a similar effect in England that Dookie had in America, albeit in a more drunken fashion. After the Stone Roses’ seminal self-titled debut in 1989, the Britpop movement had officially begun, and Oasis’ first album helped define it. Definitely Maybe paved the way for a completely new type of rock that kicked aside the emo-filled despondencies of shoegaze, filling it instead with tales of drunkenness, debauchery, and celebration. The Gallaghers weren’t moaning about not feeling good enough or getting dumped by their girlfriends – they were bragging about how blessed you were to be in their presence and how they don’t care about anything because they just want to get sloshed. The album was filled with songs that made you feel rowdy and confident, not sullen and moody, and marked a turning point in the direction the Britpop genre took in the mid-'90s.
Britney Spears: …Baby One More Time (1999) Though it may seem blasphemous to place Britney Spears on a list among the likes of Pavement and Oasis, the influence that her debut album had on the pop world is utterly undeniable. …Baby One More Time not only launched the career of a bona fide pop culture icon, but it also kickstarted the teen pop movement for the millennial generation. It’s hard to find any pop singer who came out in the 2000s that hasn’t been influenced by Spears, and regardless of whether that’s for better or for worse, ultimately Spears changed the pop landscape for good.
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Rap legend Eazy-E made a return to the stage from beyond the grave on Saturday (07Sep13) - as a hologram. The late N.W.A. star appeared during Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's set at the Rock the Bells festival in San Bernardino, California.
Eazy-E's digital reincarnation, on what would have been his 50th birthday, initially freaked fans out as the 'ghost' of the rap star simply appeared before them, stating, "What's up L.A.?" before launching into Boyz In the Hood and Straight Out of Compton as his rap peers looked on.
The avatar disappeared after asking, "How y'all feeling out there?" and "What up hot dogs?" and then launching into Bone Thugz-N-Harmony's Foe Tha Love of Money. The eerie Eazy-E spent a total of three minutes onstage alongside the rapper's proteges and former N.W.A bandmate DJ Yella.
The rap collective ran through their set with the hologram on Friday and Wish Bone told Rolling Stone it was strange to be onstage with Eazy-E, who died almost two decades ago: "It was kind of really crazy in rehearsals because I couldn’t really focus that much looking back at Eazy-E. It ain’t no flat on the wall screen, it was for real, it was real freaky."
TDE collective Black Hippy, featuring Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock co-headlined the first night of the Rock the Bells event with Kid Cudi.
Wu-Tang Clan headlines the second day on Sunday night (08Sep13) and they're expected to bring out another hologram - late bandmate Ol' Dirty Bastard.
Actor James Spader is set to become the latest star to appear in hologram form as part of a Comic-Con concept to promote his new TV series The Blacklist. Fans will be able to interact with a virtual version of his character Red Reddington, which will appear in a replica of the glass cell his villain is briefly confined to on the upcoming show, at the San Diego, California comic book convention this weekend (19-21Jul13).
The Spader hologram will share lines from the show as fans approach.
The actor will also appear in person for the first time at Comic-Con to promote the new show on Thursday afternoon (18Jul13).
In recent months, the rap world has taken to using hologram technology to bring stars like Tupac Shakur, Eazy-E and Ol' Dirty Bastard back from the dead at concerts, and Jason Bonham recently announced he is planning to take to the stage with his late father John during his Led Zeppelin Experience shows by creating a hologram of the legendary drummer.
The son of hip-hop icon Eazy-E has given his blessing to a planned hologram of his father, which will be part of America's touring Rock the Bells festival, insisting it's the perfect way to celebrate what would have been the rapper's 50th birthday. Promoters recently announced the annual event will feature a virtual performance from the late N.W.A. icon, with his proteges Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and the legend's son, fellow rapper Lil Eazy, can't wait to witness his dad's 'live' return when the tour kicks off in San Bernardino, California on 7 September (13) - the anniversary of Eazy-E's birth.
Lil Eazy tells TMZ.com, "(The hologram will be the) dopest (best) 50th birthday present ever. I am happy my father gets to get honoured... it's exciting."
Eazy-E lost his battle with AIDS in 1995.
Lil Eazy's approval will be warmly welcomed by Rock the Bells bosses - plans to bring Ol' Dirty Bastard back to life as a hologram to join his Wu-Tang Clan bandmates onstage at the upcoming festival have hit a stumbling block due to objections from the rapper's widow. She recently filed a cease and desist order against event executives to ensure her husband, who died in 2004, would not be included in the highly-anticipated digital performance.
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg sparked the new interest in bringing rappers back from the dead for virtual stage performances when they stunned Coachella festival fans in California last year (12) by beaming slain Tupac Shakur on to the stage during their collaborative set.
Ol' Dirty Bastard's widow has filed a motion to prevent organisers of the upcoming Rock the Bells Festival from bringing the late rapper back to life in the form of a hologram. Promoters are planning to raise the tragic Wu-Tang Clan member from the grave to 'perform' at the 2013 touring hip-hop festival, which kicks off in the U.S. in September (13), but now his wife Icelene Jones has taken legal measures to ensure ODB won't be included in the digital performance, also expected to feature Eazy-E.
Jones, who is in control of the late legend's estate, which owns the rights to his lyrics, performances and likeness, has issued a cease and desist order to event planners and she says, "I am disappointed that Rock the Bells would not contact me directly about the use of my husband's image. I am looking forward to talking to Wu-Tang about this matter and coming up with a positive solution."
ODB's mother, Cherry Jones, who has been influential in maintaining her son's legacy, has not yet spoken out about the pending litigation, but earlier this week (begs13May13) she attended the press conference where the news was announced to show her support for the gig.
She said, "It was so wonderful to stand by him again... I think it's (hologram) amazing. I want to sing with it."
The 35 year old, real name Russell Jones, died in 2004.
Rap act Bone Thugs-N-Harmony fear their late mentor Eazy-E's legacy has been tarnished in the hip-hop community because he died of AIDS. The star passed away in March 1995, just a month after doctors discovered he had the potentially deadly disease.
He will be resurrected in hologram form at the Rock the Bells touring festival later this year (13) to 'perform' alongside Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, but the band believe he is not celebrated in the same way as fellow rappers Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur because of the way he died.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony rapper Bizzy Bone tells TMZ.com, "Some people seem like they are afraid to commemorate him due to how he died. But (I) never once has - nor will stop - commemorating him (sic)."
Krayzie Bone adds, "They (Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur) died being known as gangsta heroes. Eazy died from a disease... so many look at that differently. The success Eazy left to the rap game is enormous and can't be topped by anyone. We are going to make sure we have the stage full of Eazy love."
Eazy-E gave the group its big break after signing them to his Ruthless Records label in 1993.
Late rappers Ol' Dirty Bastard and Eazy-E will rise again to 'perform' at the upcoming Rock the Bells hip-hop festival. The pair will return from the grave in the form of holograms at the event, with ODB appearing alongside his former group the Wu-Tang Clan, while Eazy-E will perform virtually with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
ODB performed at the first festival in 2004, just months before his death from a drug overdose. Eazy-E lost his battle with AIDS in 1995.
Their planned appearances come after Dr. Dre won huge acclaim for bringing Tupac Shakur back from the grave at the Coachella music festival in California in 2012.
The festival will tour the U.S. in September and October (13), with dates in California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.