Once Upon A Time In Compton (DVD Review)

Those countless interviews which mention the World Class Wreckin’ Cru as merely a footnote hit home for Alonzo “Lonzo” Williams. He’s read Dre’s biography and he’s heard all the NWA audio clips. According to this founder of the Electro-hop group that gave birth to West Coast Rap, Dr. Dre and others have distorted the story. So with this documentary Once Upon A Time In Compton, Lonzo offers his own highly overlooked perspective.

This film is not going to wow you with presentation points. The amateurish cover and rudimentary cinematography may discourage viewers, especially when they realize the documentary is all one monologue from Lonzo himself. Yet, what is absolutely golden about the video is the exclusive footage of a young Dr. Dre on stage spinning it up with the Cru. We’re talking twenty-something year Dre cutting a funky version of the “Mr. Postman” in a purple satin surgeon’s suit. Eff youtube; these rare gems are ready for the Hip-Hop auction block.

Williams, who founded Dre’s original group the World Class Wreckin’ Cru and owned LA’s famed Eve After Dark nightclub at age twenty two, tells the story of a few hood brothers from Compton who got rich and then got angry at each other. He recalls the group’s merry national tour up until they signed a one hundred thousand record deal with CBS as the first Rap group on the label.

He then details the legal troubles he endured with Eazy-E as the group split and became NWA. Williams would later try his hand at the executive side of matters, pushing Michel’le’s single, “Turn Off the Lights” and launching the successful but short-lived West Coast Records distribution with the Cru’s financial disputes still lingering on both sides.

All in all, Upon A Time In Compton deserves an objective sit-through. If not for Williams’ convincing story about the real scoop behind the Ruthless Records feud, then check it out for the vintage clips of Dr. Dre and boys in shiny suits and Jheri curls doing a fun–loving two-step. Lonzo assures at the end of the hour-long documentary that there will be a more detailed book, so either way peep this second side of the story.

Once Upon A Time In Compton Trailer