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How The Cast Of Straight Outta Compton Should Really Look

Plenty of biopics majorly miss the mark, either through shoddy storylines, misinformed portrayals of events, or—perhaps the most unforgiving of all—poor casting. So when director and producer F. Gary Gray took on the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, it was understandable that some fans met the news with a heavy dose of uncertainty. Thankfully for everyone involved, the flick that follows the late '80s rise of gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A shakes out pretty nicely—for the most part. Here's how the film's cast compares to the real-life bad boys.

O'Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube

O'Shea Jackson Jr. and his father, the original crazy you-know-what who came straight outta Compton himself, share more than just a name; they're practically clones. We have half a mind to believe the Jackson family genes are super-powered or have been scientifically modified, because there's no plausible way the father-and-son pair should look so similar. Beyond aesthetics, Jackson Jr. does a remarkable job capturing the intensely passionate, supremely talented, and socially aware aura of O'Shea "Ice Cube" Jackson Sr. in the seminal rap group before his departure in 1989. And it looks like he did his pops proud: critics gave the fresh-faced actor some well-deserved applause, and so did dear old dad.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Cube stated he always knew his son would be the best fit for the role, but was absolutely blown away by his performance. "As a parent, you always are proud of the moments when your kid steps up. So I'm forever grateful that he stepped up to this challenge and portrayed me in the movie. I couldn't picture anyone else doing it. I was totally engulfed watching him perform," he explained. "See, I've never been to an N.W.A concert—I've done an N.W.A concert, but never had the chance as an audience member to experience it, and I was like, 'Pretty powerful!'" We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E

Actor Jason Mitchell and the late Eric Lynn Wright share some pretty striking resemblances, from the dark, almond-shaped eyes to the squared-off jawlines, but what really ties the onscreen depiction together are a few sprinklings of movie makeup and styling. The tiny details that exist, like the shadowy mustache, chin scruff, and soft curls, serve to elevate Mitchell's take on Eazy-E into the realm of greatness. Slight discrepancies, however, include Mitchell's more upturned nose and fainter eyebrows. (Hey, we can't all be blessed with born-this-way beautiful 'brows.)

Beyond the look, one very important person has dubbed Mitchell's performance "phenomenal." The late Godfather of Gangsta Rap's own daughter, E.B. "Ebie" Wright, had some pretty amazing things to say after seeing the film. "I'm so incredibly proud," she said. "All my life I've been hearing these stories. Jason is everything I imagined [my father] to be... I really felt like I was watching him onscreen."

Wright later tweeted her adoration for the portrayal and the young actor: "Jason Mitchell was GREAT. I don't think anyone could have done better. He was spot on." Eazy-E passed away in 1995 due to complications from AIDS, but his impact on the music world lingers. And given Wright's kind words, it looks like Mitchell served his memory well.

Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre

Though not actually of the medical profession, Andre "Dr. Dre" Young definitely had the gift and the gusto to cure anyone in the late '80s and early '90s who had a hankering for dope beats and poignant, punchy lyrics. After his 1991 departure from N.W.A, Dr. Dre found solo success with the 1992 album The Chronic, and what followed was a decades-long career in the music biz. The rap legend has continued to outdo himself, but some diehard fans still say his time with the Compton-based hip-hop group saw him at his absolute prime.

Which makes American actor Corey Hawkins's job that much more difficult, as he had some massive shoes to fill playing Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton. On the physical front, not a lot can be picked apart concerning the Hawkins-Dre translation, but when stacked up against the eye-poppingly similar portrayals elsewhere in the cast, this one's a little underwhelming—and up for a bit more scrutiny. Dre has prominent arched 'brows, full lips, and an intense gaze, all very strong attributes. While Hawkins is a typical guys' guy with standard masculine facial features, he borders on looking like a (very, very) faintly watered-down version of Dre when paired side-by-side. Thankfully, his acting chops made up for the minor aesthetic differences.

Aldis Hodge as MC Ren

Portraying any real person onscreen is no simple task, but when you're stepping into MC Ren's shoes, it's even more intimidating. Lorzeno Jerald "MC Ren" Patterson was a massive figure in the music industry in the N.W.A. years—and even before, having played a big role in getting fellow group member Eazy-E's career off the ground.

Aldis Hodge's interpretation of MC Ren is hazy and off-the-mark, with noticeable physical differences existing between the two men. Hodge's eyes are much larger, his mouth wider, his eyebrows more arched and expressive. Even the shape of their noses and their overall resting faces drastically intensify how dissimilar they look. And evidently, MC Ren himself picked up on that, too. The rapper took his gripes to Twitter, airing allegations that the studio was attempting to present a warped and inaccurate history.

"Man f— these b—–s at Universal Pictures leaving me out the movie trailers tryin[g] to rewrite history," Ren tweeted. Perhaps the alterations he noticed, the "rewrites" he was pointing out, also include Hodge's portrayal. But something tells us he might not have minded, as he changed his tone later. "Thanx [sic] for all the congratulations on the film, it's a dope flick. If you haven't seen it[,] go check it out," he stated. "Congrats to the cast and crew. Great job of telling our story."

Neil Brown Jr. as DJ Yella

All is on the up-and-up with young actor Neil Brown Jr. in Antoine "DJ Yella" Carraby's shoes. The pair are wildly different in real life: Brown Jr. has a filmography that boasts roles in Fast & Furious and The Walking Dead, while former N.W.A. member DJ Yella has one that's nearly 300 films long...300 adult films.

Backstories aside, the onscreen version of Yella portrayed by Brown Jr. is fairly accurate. The same toothy grin, sprinkling of facial hair, deep brown eyes, rounded face shape, and short chin are seen on both men. In a behind-the-scenes featurette on the Straight Outta Compton DVD, the former rapper and music producer commends Brown Jr. for his kindness and his dedication to really capturing Yella's essence, even down to his subtle mannerisms and idiosyncrasies. (For what it's worth, we agree.)

Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller

Paul Giamatti has built himself a reputation in the film and television worlds as somewhat of a chameleon. The actor rarely shies away from parts that seem too aesthetically different from his own unassuming physicality, and audiences have repeatedly been gifted with interesting and entertaining performances, even if they don't necessarily recognize Giamatti underneath the makeup and/or prosthetics.

Giamatti as N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller dons white hair and a furrowed brow in his portrayal of Heller, but the similarities stop there. Where Heller, admittedly, looked quite old even during the group's heyday, Giamatti still looks young. The starkly colorless hair is spot-on, but the style is a bit different, even when looking at '80s Heller. Overall, Giamatti's natural features—like his softly rounded cheeks, his high forehead, his short neck—make him distinctly non-Heller-like.

R. Marcos Taylor as Suge Knight

Straight Outta Compton swings back with this aesthetically spot-on depiction of Suge Knight, the founder and former CEO of Death Row Records. Alongside N.W.A. member Dr. Dre, rapper The D.O.C., and producer Dick Griffey, Marion Hugh "Suge" Knight started up the record company following the West Coast rap group's split in the early '90s. Unfortunately, Knight's incarceration in 1996 and subsequent legal and fiscal troubles put a unconcealable blemish on Death Row, and the company went under in 2006. Stack that up with serious charges (for murder and attempted murder) in 2015, and it's clear that Knight has had a rocky history following the events of the film.

The positivity to emphasize here is how alike actor R. Marcos Taylor and Suge Knight look. Putting their pictures right next to one another is almost scary, as it's easy to lose track of who's who. With their shiny bald heads, full black beards, and similarly straight-across 'brows, we think Taylor and Knight could totally pass as twins.

One very important person disagreed, however: Knight himself. Well, technically the statement of disapproval came from Knight's lawyers due to the whole "on trial for murder" thing we mentioned earlier. In an interview with The Wrap, attorney Thomas Mesereau stated that though Knight didn't have access to the film himself, he was "sure he wouldn't like it because a lot of it is exaggerated and silly and ridiculous." Here's hoping one day Knight can decide for himself.

Keith Stanfield as Snoop Dogg

Next up is the iconic D-O-double-G, played by actor, poet, and rap artist Keith Stanfield. And boy, is the portrayal a complicated one. Born Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr., the rapper nabbed his stage moniker from a family nickname, "Snoopy," but it wasn't until he was discovered by Dre that Snoop Dogg launched into megastardom. With Death Row, Snoop Dogg was featured on the 1992 album The Chronic and released his own solo album the following year. And, as most of us know, the perpetually chill and down-to-earth rapper has churned out catchy hits on repeat, allowing him to maintain a solid fame to this day.

Given that Snoop is such a recognizable figure, Stanfield sort of had the odds against him from the get-go. Performance-wise, the actor does a pretty great job, but it can't disguise their physical differences. Though the two men share a lanky stature and thin, scrappy features, Snoop's wide, sleepy eyes compared to Stanfield's dark, head-on stare is the biggest difference. Pair that with Stanfield's softer chin, thinner mouth, and downward-hooked nose, and the life-to-screen interpretation is anything but exact.

Marcc Rose as Tupac Shakur

We're going out with a bang here. No, your eyes aren't deceiving you, and yes, it's completely normal to do a double or triple take at the stitched-together picture to determine if it's actually two people or the same person, just in different lighting. We promise it's a standard actor portrayal, not the work of a newfangled human duplicating machine.

Marcc Rose as Tupac Shakur is mind-melting. From the squarely-tapered jaw-line and the near-black almond eyes to the full lips, thick brows, and dazzling smile, Rose sticks the landing. What pushes the portrayal into the top tier is Shakur's distinct voice, which onetime child star Darris Love provides perfectly.

It's likely safe to say that super-fans of the late rapper would be able to pick up on tiny, nuanced differences between Rose and Shakur, but to the everyday eye, their similarities are uncanny.