#STRAIGHTOUTTA GENIUS. Two Theories on how the N.W.A. Biopic broke the Internet

2 min read
August 11, 2015

If you're like me and grew up in the Golden Age of Hip Hop shaking an angry fist (or more accurately raising a strategically angry finger) at authority, you are looking forward to the release of Straight Outta Compton.  The film is a biopic detailing the rise of the polarizing rap group from embattled South Central Los Angeles, "Niggas With Attitudes" aka N.W.A. The group's membership included the late, great, Easy-E, legendary producer and co-founder of Beats, Dr. Dre, and the somehow now, far less angry rapper turned actor, Ice Cube

At the height of their fame, the optics surrounding N.W.A. ignited tensions between police and the black community and became the voice for the young rebellious generation. Today, the marketing strategy for the film seeks to achieve the opposite by unifying communities in a social show of global solidarity.  A new website, straightouttasomewhere.com is welcoming fans from all over to stand with Compton, California by inserting their hometown in place of the South Central city.  It allows users to type whatever word(s) they’d like after the “Straight Outta” text, creating customized graphics that can be shared on the internet in conjunction with the #straightoutta hashtag.

As of this writing, more than 100,000 photos have show up on Instagram under the hashtag, more than for the film itself. By Friday, August 7 StraightOuttaSomewhere.com had gotten so much traffic, it crashed several times and was one of the most popular URLs on Alexa.com's “What’s Hot?” list, which tracks the hottest websites of the day. But how and why so fast? 

Theory One
Last week, in promotion of the film, Ice Cube appeared in a comedic bit with Jimmy Fallon and quipping about all the things N.W.A. DIDIN'T stand for. Hypothesis: anything that the late night host touches these days will be awkwardly entertaining.  With his command of the digital language he can, at the least, make you a trending topic. Conclusion, if you can afford a publicist that can get you on The Tonight Show, chances are you're probably pretty hot already and might not need the hype. 

Theory Two
At the Highbrid HQ we often marvel at how creative Twitter and Instagram users are.  What on the surface would appear to be inhibiting, the character and graphics limitations have only created a breading ground for imagination.  Users are always looking to re-purpose, reinvent and break the boundaries placed upon them.  Comedians for instance have nothing on the comedic value that is posted every moment on Twitter and Instagram in the form of Memes.  As expected, users have found a way to break the rules using the #StraightOutta app to create hilarious memes using celebrity photos, pop culture and current events and politics.  No one is safe from Bill Cosby to Donald Trump.  Hypothesis: Whether intentional or not, StraightOuttaSomewhere.com was a prime target for the Twittergram hijacking.  It was just too tempting for users NOT to use the app in the way in which it was intended.  Conclusion:  With the creativity and competition of those on the internet, this explosion wasn't a matter of if, but when.

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