Many people in the 1990s dubbed their favorite hood movies on VHS tapes similar to these.
Hollywood follows trends.
In the 1970s, blaxploitation films ruled the urban movie market with a plethora of Black heroes taking it to the man and not taking any sh*t.
However, by the 1980s things had cooled off a bit for Black movie stars except for Spike Lee joints and Eddie Murphy comedy blockbusters.
But by the 1990s, hood movies had revitalized that market and a new group of classic films made waves at the box office.
And with the success of these classics, came a new generation of Black filmmakers like Matty Rich, John Singleton, The Hughes Brothers and Hype Williams.
To honor those movies, RegalMag.com takes a trip down memory lane when new jacks from the hood with juice ruled the world from New York to Cali and picks the 10 best hood films from the 1990s.
10) “Straight Out of Brooklyn”—Who can remember when teenage filmmaker Matty Rich took Hollywood by storm with his debut film, “Straight Out of Brooklyn”? The movie, starring Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (“The Wire”), dealt with a kid named Dennis Brown who is so tired of living in poverty that he decides to end his family’s problems by robbing a local drug dealer. Rich also starred in his directorial debut as Larry. Rich went on to direct “The Inkwell,” which focused on upper-class African-Americans on Martha’s Vineyard.
(“Straight Out of Brooklyn” trailer courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers)
9) “South Central”—O.G. Bobby Johnson (Glenn Plummer) was one of the most iconic hood movie characters from the 1990s. And that character seemed perfect for Plummer because he played a similar character in “Menace II Society.” Bobby was a legend in the hood before his incarceration. But instead of coming back to the streets after his bid ends, the O.G. wants to steer his son away from the gangs that took so many years of his life.
(“South Central” trailer courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers)
8) “Sugar Hill”—What do you do when all you have known is the drug game? Your mother overdosed. Your father is a fiend. And the only way you know how to make money is from narcotics. However, when Roemello (Wesley Snipes) meets the love of his life Melissa (Theresa Randle), he wants to give the criminal lifestyle up completely. However, his brother Raynathan (Michael Wright, “The Five Heartbeats) is determined to keep Roemello in the family business, even if he breaks up a potential happy home.
(“Sugar Hill” trailer courtesy of HD Retro Trailers)
7) “Clockers”—With Spike Lee as a co-writer, director and producer, Martin Scorsese as a producer and actors like Mekhi Phifer, Harvey Keitel, Delroy Lindo, Keith David, John Turturro and Houstonian Isaiah Washington, “Clockers” had too much talent to go wrong. The film dealt with the perils of young drug dealers in Brooklyn, N.Y. trapped between pleasing their bosses and ducking the law.
(“Clockers” trailer courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers)
6) “Belly”—Originally Tyrin Turner had agreed to play the lead character in “Belly.” However, filmmaker Hype Williams decided to go with the iconic rapper DMX in the role. Upset at his demotion, Turner tried to screw up “Belly” in his small role by smacking on his banana, while declaring to drop a dime on them n*****. However, Turner’s performance became iconic. Not surprisingly, Williams shot “Belly” visually in a way that mimicked many rap videos of the day. And in the process created a certified hood movie classic.
(“Belly” trailer courtesy of Trailer Chan)
5) “Jason’s Lyric”—This Houston based hood classic had a little bit for everyone. “Jason’s Lyric” had the hot romance between Jason (Allen Payne) and Lyric (Jada Pinkett) for the ladies. And it also had that thug life thanks to Joshua (Bokeem Woodbine) and Alonzo (Anthony “Treach” Criss from the rap group Naughty By Nature). The film, which took place in Houston’s Third Ward, dealt with two brothers. One brother determined to live the right way and make his family proud. And another brother that just did not give a you-know-what. However, when the good brother tries to save the wayward brother, it might bring him down to the gutter too.
(“Jason’s Lyric” trailer courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers)
4) “Juice”—Very few people knew who Tupac Shakur was before “Juice,” except for diehard Digital Underground fans. In fact, one of the only household names prior to the release “Juice” was Jermaine Hopkins (“Lean on Me”). However, even if people did not know Shakur’s name after “Juice,” they definitely knew his character, Bishop. He embodied the crazy character so much that people still debate if he became Bishop after the role or did his real personality come through the troubled teenager.
(“Juice” trailer courtesy of Paramount Movies)
3) “New Jack City”—When an actor plays his role so well that moviegoers go home hating the son of a gun, then that thespian has done their job. Wesley Snipes played Nino Brown so well that he easily became one of the most treacherous villains in gangster movie history. Nino killing G-Money (Payne) was almost as heartbreaking as when Tony Montana (Al Pacino) killed his best friend Manny Ribera (Steven Bauer) in “Scarface.”
(“New Jack City” trailer courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers)
2) “Boyz ‘N The Hood”—When John Singleton released his debut film “Boyz ‘N The Hood,” he ushered in a new era of filmmaking in Black Hollywood, which ultimately began the classic period of urban cinema. While many hood films of the 1990s focused on young Black men without good father figures in the home, this 1991 classic showed what a difference a good father can make in a young man’s life. In “Boyz ‘N Hood,” it is no surprise that the young man with the strong father escaped the hood, while his less fortunate counterparts suffered the consequences.
(“Boyz ‘N The Hood” trailer courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment)
1) “Menace II Society”—Rap icon Ice-T once said that “Boyz ‘N The Hood” was not hard enough. Well, when The Hughes Brothers dropped “Menace II Society,” very few probably said the same of the film starring Turner and Larenz Tate. A young Tate played O-Dog so convincingly that many probably thought he was truly America’s worst nightmare. His later films like “Love Jones” “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” showed how diverse Tate’s talents were.
(“Menace II Society” trailer courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers)