At the height of gangster culture and crime in South Central Los Angeles, a group of “kids from Compton” channeled their frustration through music. Those “kids” became NWA—a platinum-selling hip hop group that exposed the brutality of their streets.

“We were rapping about what was going on the hood because it was dirty,” founding member turned actor Ice Cube explains in a new featurette released this week for “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic about the rise and fall of the gangster rap group. “We took the music and it became our weapon.”

In the forthcoming drama, he is portrayed by his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. “They shed light on things people needed to know,” the budding actor-rapper says.

Along with Ice Cube, the original NWA lineup in 1988 consisted of Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E and MC Ren. One year later, their debut album—which shares the same name of the movie title—proved to be a hit. “We were just guys from the hood that made something incredible happen,” Dr. Dre says.

Though popular until they split in 1991, their music was banned from many mainstream stations for its explicit lyrics, women bashing and glorification of violence against police. Director F. Gary Gray says NWA “tapped into the rebel in all of us.”

"Straight Outta Compton" hits theaters on Aug. 14.