5 Things: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Marlon Yates

Being in front of the camera is nothing new for actor/model Marlon Yates, Jr. In fact, you may have seen him in some of your favorite commercial spots for McDonald’s, Nike and Hyundai, just to name a few.

However, taking on the role of The D.O.C. in the highly-anticipated film Straight Outta Compton, based on the controversial hardcore rap group, N.W.A., his place in Hollywood just went up a nice notch.

Charismatic and focused, the South Central, L.A. actor spoke with JET about hip-hop and the one thing he feared when auditioning.

1. Hip-Hop Food For Thought
From my understanding, hip-hop is about struggle. There are a few artists in it, that are actually true to the hip-hop code and really talking about something. That’s why I consider J. Cole the new age Nas and Kendrick…he’s just like [on] a whole new pedestal.

2. Alternative Outcomes
As a huge fan of Dr. Dre, when word got out about casting for Straight Outta Compton, Yates embraced the opportunity and auditioned for Dre’s role, but it was a no-go…so he thought. Fact is: He’s too good-looking to pull off Dre. The alternative: N.W.A’s low-key gem The D.O.C. “I wasn’t sure who he was, so I had to do my research,” said Marlon. “After finding out who dude was, he was like a legend! He was real, raw and actually talked about something that could move you. His music was truth. It’s life.”

3. Unfamiliar Territory
The D.O.C. was a prominent force behind NWA. His lyrical skill and intellect when curating music, is something respected in the hip-hop game. “When I first got the call, they were like learn the song, “The Formula” and I was nervous like ‘Dang! I gotta rap?'” Turns out, he didn’t need the rap skills after all but was able to hang around the D.O.C. and grasp the way he maneuvers along with his appeal to the ladies. “The ladies loved him.”

Marlon with "Straight Outta Compton" cast mates.  Photo: Marlon Yates, Jr. Instagam

Marlon with “Straight Outta Compton” cast mates.
Photo: Marlon Yates, Jr. Instagam

4. Philanthropic Formula
The South Central native recently founded Brothers Capable of Accomplishing Anything (BCAA), an organization where he looks to create after school programs and artistic outlets for youth in the inner city community.

5. Just Gotta Make It
Every moment is an opportunity to learn something. Sure, in between takes, Marlon could kick back in his trailer, but with aspirations of appearing in more film projects, he did this instead: “I’d go and watch Paul [Giamatti] and he was just so focused in every scene. He had a free spirit and no inhibitions. He had this like ‘f–k it attitude.’ That’s how I approach every situation I walk into now…like, F you, I’m going to make it happen. If that makes any sense.”

Looks like he’s embodying the N.W.A. mentality already. Stay looped in with Mr. Yates via Twitter and Instagram.

Straight Outta Compton hits theaters today (Aug.14).