Music

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

At the launch party of his band's first album in a crowded Beirut café, singer Anas Maghrebi steps up to the microphone in front of a crowd of hip guys and women in vintage glasses, sipping icy drinks in the sultry evening.

The songs swell; the audience cheers and sings along. Maghrebi is 26 years old, tall and thin with a beard and cap, soaking up the adulation. He's not, perhaps, a typical Syrian refugee, but his journey to realize a dream of making a rock record has been fraught with hardship.

This past Friday, Aug. 14, the record producer Bob Johnston died in hospice care near his home in Nashville, Tenn. He was 83 years old.

Straight Outta Compton, the provocative biopic on the late-'80s hip-hop group N.W.A, reportedly brought in more than $60 million last weekend. Among other things, it pays homage to a cultural reference made famous by its member Ice Cube in the 1995 film Friday -- one that later became shorthand to dismiss trolls on Twitter with the hashtag #ByeFelicia.

But writer Allison Davis didn't find the joke in Straight Outta Compton funny.

The list of its faculty and students is a who's who of 20th-century music: Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, John Adams, Augusta Read Thomas.

In the late 1980s, Los Angeles hip-hop group N.W.A created a sensation and controversy with their music, which was labeled gangsta rap. Like the group's story, the making of their much-anticipated biopic, Straight Outta Compton, is filled with drama.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages