By Karen Valby
April 11, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

The obstacles to a Jimi Hendrix biopic are huge. The rock god’s estate has long refused to part with the rights to his most famous songs. So Oscar-winning scribe John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) zeroed in on the year before Hendrix skyrocketed to fame at 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival (and the covers he was performing at the time). OutKast’s André Benjamin plays Hendrix, who begins as a guitarist in blues musician Curtis Knight’s rhythm section; Imogen Poots (Need for Speed) is his muse, model Linda Keith. “This is a story about relationships,” says Ridley. “If there are folks who just want the music, there are record stores for that.”