Episode 48

full
Published on:

27th Dec 2023

Menace II Society (1993)

The Watts riots of 1965 lay destruction in its wake. Fast forward to the early 90's, and the urban youth of South Central L.A. are still trying to find their way. Broken homes, gang violence, and the drug game dot the 'hood. Caine Lawson finds himself embroiled in the turmoil, having grown up with little means and the child of a dealer and addict. Will Caine break the cycle or remain a menace to himself and a Menace II Society? 

Notes

Menace II Society on IMDB. Watch on Showtime or Amazon.

Our Boyz N the Hood episode.

About HHMC

Hip Hop Movie Club is a show and podcast that celebrates and examines old and new hip hop-themed films. Your hosts are three longtime hip hop fans: DynoWright, podcaster and filmmaker; JB, 80s and 90s nostalgia junkie, and BooGie, a DJ and veteran graffiti artist.

Credits

Hip Hop Movie Club is produced by your HHMC's: BooGie, JB and DynoWright! Theme music by BooGie.

Follow us on social media @hiphopmovieclub!

Mentioned in this episode:

Wild Style coming to SteelStacks on January 25th

Join us for a special event at SteelStacks in Bethlehem PA on January 25th - a special screening of hip hop's first film Wild Style! Featuring Q&A with the director Charlie Ahearn, Grandmaster Caz and Grandmixer DXT! Special DJ performance by DXT and hip hop show by the Cold Crush Brothers! Come hang with your HH emcees! This screening and performance is presented in partnership with Northampton Community College Foundation Annual Humanities Program. More information and free tickets at steelstacks.org.

Transcript
Speaker:

The Watts riots of 1965 lay destruction

in its wake.

2

:

Fast forward to the early nineties

and the urban youth are still trying

3

:

to find their way broken homes, gang

violence and the drug game dot the hood.

4

:

Caine finds himself embroiled

in the turmoil, having grown up with

5

:

little means, and as the child of a dealer

and an addict.

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:

Will Caine break the cycle

or remain a menace to himself

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:

and a menace to society?

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:

Bring it!

9

:

C’mon!

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:

Welcome to Hip Hop Movie Club.

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:

This is a show for Gen-X

hip hop fans want to relive the glory days

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:

and reconsider classic and modern hip

hop films from a current day perspective.

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Together, we'll explore

some of the largest societal issues

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raised in these films.

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Whether you have or have not seen Menace

II Society before,

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we’ll help you decide if you should take

the time to watch it now.

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Either way, you’ll be a smarter

hip hop fan by the end of this episode.

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In the next 30 minutes or so,

you'll get all this and more.

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We are three

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old heads who put their old heads

together, to vibe on these films for you.

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I'm DynoWright, podcaster, filmmaker,

long time hip hop fan, and the first

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:

hip hop act I ever saw live was Arrested

evelopment at Lollapalooza in:

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I'm JB eighties and

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nineties nostalgia junkie, longtime

hip hop fan, and I recently saw the hip

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hop duo Rae Sremmurd perform at Hofstra

University's Fall Fest.

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I'm BooGie, a deejay,

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long time

hip hop fan, and in addition to my wax,

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also have a pretty nice

cassette collection, complete

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with a working Aiwa walkman

and a Sanyo boombox.

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In this episode,

we'll answer the question,

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does Menace

II Society still resonate today?

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Bring it!

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C’mon!

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Menace

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II Society is a crime drama

depicting the formative years

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of Caine Lawson

growing up around drugs and violent crime.

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Caine narrates his own story,

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navigating through the projects

and living in thug life.

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We can only hope

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he can reform his ways

and find a safe exit strategy.

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This movie was from 1993.

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So let's get into Menace II Society.

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Dig right in,

I think. Let's start at the top.

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So take us through the now famous

and often parodied

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opening scene

that takes place in a convenience store.

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BooGie,

lay the foundation of what happens there.

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Sure, I could do that

sort of opening scene of the movie shows

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Caine and O-Dog

walk into the local convenience store,

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talking about meeting up later

and things they're about to get into.

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There's an Asian woman

cleaning in the store,

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and O-Dog immediately responds to her like

she doesn’t have to follow them around.

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So they grab their 40 ounces

and as they’re about to open it

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The male cashier tells him that

they can't drink the beer in the store.

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And O-Dog was like,

Yeah, you know, we're going to pay,

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we're going to pay for whatever,

whatever, whatever. So then

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the lady responds.

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Hurry up and buy,

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which is one of the famous

lines, that’s parodied in

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Don't be a Menace to South Central

by Drinking Your Juice in the Hood,

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and also the scenario of her

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following him around the store

in various places and popping up,

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hiding out throughout the store.

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So then the cashier tells me

I have to pay it, meaning

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that they should just hurry up and go.

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And the lady just kind of watching them,

you know, following around or whatever.

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So Caine tells O-Dog to get his change,

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and he starts walking towards the door

with his 40-ounce in his hand.

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And then O-Dog says “What’s up

with my man’s

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change”, to which

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the cashier gives him his change.

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And he says, I feel sorry for your mother.

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Another line that's

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popped up in Don’t

Be a Menace to South Central

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While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood,

to which O-Dog responds

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“What you say about my mama?” Famous line

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also parodied in that movie,

but well, he immediately

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walks over to the cashier in a rage

and the cinematography

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just kind of pans over as you see

Caine with his 40-ounce in his hand.

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And we see a gunshots ringing

off, 40-ounce hits the floor.

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And then we look over, we see O-Dog

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just kind of shooting

the man behind the register.

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He grabs the woman

who's who's there as a witness now

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and tells takes her to the back to go

grab the security tape

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and he's telling

her to hurry up and eject it,

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and then you hear him shoot her as well,

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which is very unfortunate.

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Then Caine runs out,

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O-Dog runs out and is telling Caine that,

you know, hurry up.

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I thought you were going to open up

the register.

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And as O-Dog runs to the register

he only finds $6.

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So it was like, wow.

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But then he immediately starts to pat down

the victim,

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the man who's laying there

and take the rest of the money

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that he found on them,

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and he hops over the counter,

before he leaves,

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he grabs his 40-ounce and they were out.

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So it's just like,

wow, just the way it escalated in

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a matter of seconds is just unreal.

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It's jarring

if you've never seen that scene before.

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And I've seen it several times,

and it still jars me a bit because

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of how quickly

it escalated, had the temperament

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that O-Dog displays in this situation.

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But as I said it's been parodied

a few times and the parodies

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are much funnier

and they bring a lot more light to it.

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But yeah, that lays it out right there.

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Yeah, good breakdown.

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And I think it's important

for historical perspective

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because I was reading more up

on the tensions

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in the Watts area

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and the store owners are Korean

and there was palpable

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tension between the the two communities,

the Korean community, the Black community.

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There was a famous killing

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of Latasha Harlins in 1991 at the hands

of a Korean convenience store owner.

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And then there was other incidents

after the Rodney

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King riots in Koreatown section in 92.

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So the Hughes brothers, you know,

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played off of that with this scene.

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So palpable tension,

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you know, art imitating life, so to speak.

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Yeah. Yeah.

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The this scene sets up

the rest of the movie

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and it doesn't escalate until the Korean

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store owner says,

I feel sorry for your mother,

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bringing into focus like a real problem

here.

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This movie

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violates is that the O-Dog

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and Caine don't really have parents

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and the support system –

and we'll talk about this – is

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not really there for them and you know

this is their way of dealing with it

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is to shoot the two store owners.

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Yeah. So it's it's horrible.

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But this is the situation

they find themselves in.

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Yeah.

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Like you said, the scene is jarring.

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It shocked and captivated audiences.

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Remember, this is 1993,

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not much of this raw violence was

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documented

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before even in, you know,

a fictional story.

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But again, life imitates art.

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So this was

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this this had happened,

you know, similar incidents had occurred.

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What's crazy in researching it,

too, is the Hughes brothers,

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Allen and Albert Hughes were

just 20 years old when they made the film,

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and their goal was to

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shock

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and educate white America,

you know, through shock value.

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So it sure did that did the job there.

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And it's two years after Boyz n

the Hood still.

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Right, right, right.

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We're going to talk about like comparing

and contrasting Boyz N the Hood.

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So right, it's two years after that.

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But wow, that opening scene, it

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it is a very

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legendary scene in crime dramas.

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Yeah.

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And I read that Larenz Tate ad libbed

“What you say about my mama?”

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which is amazing. Wow. Yeah,

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yeah,

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yeah.

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And even that that whole

the security tape,

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that O-Dog eventually does

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grab out of the back

with the woman that tape

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is constantly coming up

throughout the movie

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in various scenarios

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because it becomes a mockery

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to watch that scene

where the guys sit around

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with their drinks, you know, smoking

or whatever and watch that as a is a

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parody of what happened.

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Like laughing at it. It's it's crazy.

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Yeah, he was proud.

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He was celebrating it, like boasting

about what he had done like.

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Selling copies of it Street cred.

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This is his SportsCenter

top ten highlight.

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So you know, it's funny,

we have younger listeners out here

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even to understand this concept,

because nowadays everybody in cell phones,

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this would have been

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one of them would have been filming it

on a cell phone, recording it,

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and then they'd be sharing it

through social media, hopefully not

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letting it get out to the authorities

somehow trusting the people.

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But back in the day,

it was a physical tape that was in

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the surveillance camera,

sitting in the convenience store

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that they had to eject and a physical tape

that was important

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that he wanted to make sure he possessed

so that the authorities wouldn't get it.

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But again, he ended up replaying it for

other people and celebrating, which was

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savage

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for sure.

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So Caine, the main character

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Caine, the protagonist,

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as we as you mentioned DynoWright,

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born into a life of crime,

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addict and dealer

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for parents who both died young because of

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the world

in which they lived and circumstances.

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Do you empathize with Caine?

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Are you rooting for him

throughout the movie?

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Why or why not?

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DynoWright,

you want to kick off on this one?

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Sure.

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I was rooting for him

because he had a rough

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upbringing and generally he wasn't

looking for trouble in the beginning.

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But then the life just took over him.

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But he's not so much pulled into it

as that he chooses to, to live that life.

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And so

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I was rooting for him at first,

but then I'm like,

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this is not going to end well for him.

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And it turns into an anti-hero, I guess.

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Right.

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Yeah, I guess the root

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as much as you can root from,

just root for him to survive the movie.

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Yeah. You root for him

to maybe reform himself as. What I was.

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Yeah. You know, he was trying.

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I guess he, you know, even though he

he did embrace the lifestyle, he also

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I think he came to the realization

that he needed to get out.

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And so he was going to

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and then we find out, we see what happens.

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Yeah. Right before he leaves.

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BooGie, what are your thoughts?

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Were you rooting for Caine?

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Yeah, it's hard for me not to

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to empathize

with Caine to a certain extent.

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I mean, I understand

that he is the product of his parents

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to an extent, and product

of his environment to an extent.

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I mean, but he also has a loving

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set of loving, nurturing grandparents,

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you know, that want to see him

become a good person.

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Like they

you know, upright religious folks.

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And they even if they sat down,

they would talk with them,

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they would spend time with them.

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They would say, give him encouraging words

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repeatedly throughout the film.

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You see them, you know,

pushing for him to do the right thing,

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even pulling O-Dog in

and talking with O-Dog as well.

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You know, So, you know, also,

I like to see

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the underdog succeed, like you know that

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because of his environment that he's in.

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He's he's the underdog.

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He's just he's on his way to becoming

a statistic by his actions growing up.

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Flipside, it's hard

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to root for him because he continues

to participate in knucklehead behavior.

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You know, like the incident

when his cousin was

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was murdered in a carjacking,

they knew who the people were,

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they had a perfect opportunity to get the

authorities involved in that situation.

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But no, they went

and handled it themselves, you know.

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You know, even when he met the girl Ilena

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and, you know, she called him and told her

I told him that she was pregnant.

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His immediate reaction was to almost

abandon her in that situation

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and claim that it wasn't even his child.

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We had the the the Mustang 5.0.

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He had factory rims on it.

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But what did he do?

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He went out and robbed the guy

for his Daytons, to put them on his car,

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you know, And then even when Ilena’s

cousin came over to confront him about,

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you know, you know, dissing Ilena.

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I mean, you okay, A fight is a fight, but

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the extent to which you beat him was

was was brutal,

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like stomping repeatedly on his head

while he's on the ground.

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You know, things like that,

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it kind of

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makes it hard for you

to to want to root for him.

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But like DynoWright said, like you're

rooting for him to survive the movie

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because you know that the path that he's

going down, something is going to happen.

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But then it was like the light side of it

when you're Ronnie and even

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what’s his name Sharif and Stacy,

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were trying to get him to go to Kansas,

you know, And then Ronnie's like,

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you know,

why don’t you come to Atlanta with us?

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And he finally was like alright,

looks like he was going to go.

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But, you know, as the cliche saying goes,

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life comes at you fast.

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And it sure did, right

when he was ready to make a move.

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Yeah.

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Great. Breakdown.

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I was rooting for him

to turn his life around again.

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I grimaced at all the brutality that he

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put out there in the world.

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Carjacking you know, retaliation murder.

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Rough.

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But he he did have a soft spot for

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Pernell, who was his mentor, and Ronnie's

son while Pernell was in prison.

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Like the little boy, Anthony.

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He would,

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I think, either bought him a Big Wheel or,

you know, said he was going to.

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And he would continuously give money

to Ronnie

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to help care for Anthony, because,

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you know, note Pernell was locked up.

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So he did have a loving side,

but it was just shrouded

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by all the hardness

from his upbringing and his surroundings.

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So we didn't mention

his father was played by Samuel L.

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Jackson, and the character

Ronnie was Jada Pinkett Smith.

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So some big names in here.

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Yeah.

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For sure. But

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Let’s talk a little bit more about Caine's

support system.

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What comprised Caine's support system?

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Who who was

who were the influences for him?

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Boogie want to take that as well?

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Yeah, I mean,

I think touched on it a little bit.

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But he did like I said he did

h have his grandparents.

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I mean, that was his primary support.

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I mean, he lived with them

and they fed him and provided for him up

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until he got to the point

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where he started hustling

and kind of somewhat doing it for himself.

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But they were there for him.

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And I mean, they tried to as best

they could.

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I mean, granted, it would probably be

a little different had they been younger

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and, you know, probably able to go outside

and kind of chase him around, whatever.

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But they were definitely there for him.

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You did mention you mentioned Ronnie.

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She was very supportive of him as well,

and she cared very deeply for him,

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you could see it from the beginning

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that there was a connection

between the two of them,

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but she was was looking out for him

and wanted him to do good.

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And she was the one who was trying to

encourage him to leave and come with her

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to just get away and just start over.

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Even as his boys, Sharif and Stacy,

like I said,

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mentioned earlier they were trying

to get him to move to Kansas

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with them because they knew it wasn't

that there was nothing going on

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in South Central LA either.

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they were like, we got to get out of here.

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You should come with us, even to the point

where Sharif’s father, Mr.

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Butler, stepped in

and was trying to talk to them.

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And that was he's

he was a great role model.

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And as he said,

there's a statement he mentioned,

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in regards to Sharif, when he said,

you know, know

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referring to the Nation of Islam,

being able to give Sharif that support,

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that to make him a better person,

the said, listen, I don't care,

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you know, if he's Muslim or not, like he's

making my son a better person.

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I'm all for it,

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you know?

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And he was just like,

you know, I don't understand it.

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I'm not Muslim, but, hey, it's helping

my son, it’s good, you know?

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So stuff like that, you know?

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But like I said,

I think those are probably probably

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the primary positive influences

in his life.

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Yeah.

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I thought the one powerful speech, Mr.

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Butler, Sharif's dad, very slowly stating

of being a Black man in America is tough.

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You are the prey.

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Just survive.

Like he tried to drill that into

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Caine, but he just wouldn't listen.

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He was too embroiled in his lifestyle.

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It was hard to get out.

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But yeah,

he had those other opportunities.

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The grandparents were very proud of him

that he was getting his diploma

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and they were religious

and they could tell

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that Caine was uncomfortable

when they started talking about God.

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He’s not there to talk about that

God stuff.

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And, you know, but

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he was really brushing it off,

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unfortunately.

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And Ronnie wanted him to avoid the fate

of Pernell, like a jail or worse.

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You know?

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So they're pulling for him

and trying to pull.

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But the their force wasn't as strong as

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the other influences

of negative influences.

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O-Dog was totally unhinged.

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Like you said, he was showing off

the video and not a good influence at all.

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It was like,

I can cynicism to a certain extent.

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I mean, having witnessed

what he witnessed as a child

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with this with his parents

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father selling drugs

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and shooting somebody and kill him

right in the house, his mother

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being strung out on on heroin

and crack or whatever.

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So, I mean, I get the cynicism.

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Like I said, you know,

with the grandparents to talk about God?

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Okay, well, what happened with my parents?

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You know,

I kind of get where he's coming from

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to a certain extent,

but at the same time, you can't

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you can't go through life, you know,

focusing on the negative when you have

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all of these people around him

that are trying to pull for you.

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So, I mean,

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that’s why I say,

that's that's would be kind of hard.

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What I said earlier is maybe, you know,

hard for me to kind of empathize.

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When he got these people that are

trying to root for him you know, yeah.

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DynoWright, anything to

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add on the influences on Caine?

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You know, it takes a village.

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And if the village doesn't

have stable parents in the beginning,

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that's really it's really tough

to make it.

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And despite the best efforts

of the grandparents,

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Harold, for a few minutes

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before he got shot in the carjacking and

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and Sharif and Stacy

and Ronnie and Pernell,

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there's only so much they can do.

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And Caine makes

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made his decisions,

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despite what you know,

people were trying to help him

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were doing so it’s tough.

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:

What were the opportunities

that he had to escape his life of crime?

390

:

BooGie, you talked about it, his friends

Stacy and Sharif were moving to Kansas

391

:

and he wanted to come along.

392

:

And what what were

393

:

some of the other opportunities

he had to escape?

394

:

You want to touch on that?

395

:

I mean,

396

:

even just the fact that I mean,

it was unfortunate

397

:

that his cousin Harold was killed,

398

:

but he was shot and he survived.

399

:

You know,

you live through something like that.

400

:

You know, it's that's a

that's a point where you could say, whoa,

401

:

maybe I may just try and start

rethinking some things.

402

:

Yeah.

403

:

You know,

But you didn't rethink things at all.

404

:

Like his immediate response

was to retaliate.

405

:

And I get it.

406

:

I mean, that’s your cousin, I get it.

407

:

But at the same time, like,

you can't expect

408

:

to go out and do something like that

and something good come about it because.

409

:

Yeah, okay, you kill these guys.

410

:

Now what next?

411

:

Like, you could have gotten caught

in the process by the police

412

:

and shot and killed

right there on the spot.

413

:

Their friends could have came and saw it,

and they could have shot you on the spot.

414

:

There's so many things

that could have gone wrong

415

:

by jumping

to that jumping to those actions

416

:

and he had a perfect opportunity

to completely avoid all of that.

417

:

And he chose not to, you know, even

like I said before, with his grandfather

418

:

trying to talk to him and O-Dog,

about the trouble they get into,

419

:

because he he sees it like some of it

420

:

he sees something he hears through hearsay

through the neighborhood,

421

:

but he’s calling it to their attention

that I know what you guys are.

422

:

some, I don't even know all of it,

423

:

but I know what you guys are doing out

there is wrong.

424

:

You kind of

might want to try to correct it.

425

:

And they didn’t,

426

:

you know,

even when they tried to, you know,

427

:

they went to go steal a car and,

428

:

you know, yeah, he he got his

429

:

his sentence got reduced to attempted

joyriding instead of Grand Theft Auto.

430

:

Okay. You got a reduction.

431

:

Then his fingerprints

432

:

matched the 40 ounce

that was dropped in the store.

433

:

He got interrogated and got away with it.

434

:

You know, they couldn't find anything

because they had no evidence.

435

:

So he got off that. Here's another option.

436

:

Okay? I got away. You know what?

437

:

I'm clean.

438

:

I’m out.

439

:

I’m done. Nope! Keep going.

440

:

You know, Sharif and Stacy, try and talk,

you know, in one ear and out the other?

441

:

You know, Mr.

442

:

Butler talking to him in one of the other,

you know,

443

:

then he you know, they had the unfortunate

444

:

scene where Caine and Sharif

445

:

were brutally beaten by the police

officers.

446

:

And, you know, nope, you know,

447

:

and I think that might have that

448

:

might have been somewhat

of a turning point because Ronnie actually

449

:

put it in his head

to go with her to Atlanta.

450

:

And then she asked him again

and he finally did accept.

451

:

But after all of the the laundry list of

452

:

things he's done and granted,

453

:

it's a movie, so they only show certain

aspects of what happened.

454

:

So there's probably a lot more that

he's done that that didn't make the film.

455

:

Yeah, you know it’s

safe to make that assumption,

456

:

you know, And it all caught up to him,

you know.

457

:

When faced with the opportunity

to really change,

458

:

he never takes the opportunity.

459

:

Right?

460

:

He makes really bad decisions.

461

:

I mean, on the face of it.

462

:

That's I guess that's the stubbornness

of being young and growing

463

:

up, that environment,

not having that true. Exactly.

464

:

Father figure or parent parental figure.

465

:

His moral compass is broken.

466

:

He never really had one. Yeah.

467

:

Even though he, like you said,

he did have a a loving side to him.

468

:

And distorted maybe. But loyalty.

469

:

Yeah.

470

:

It's it's

one of the great things about this movie.

471

:

It's very, you know, morally complex. You

472

:

right

That's why I find myself torn a little bit

473

:

rooting for him versus

not rooting for him.

474

:

It's like it's almost like

475

:

someone's a dummy dummy, you know,

like, yeah, just get out of this.

476

:

Like, you have an opening.

477

:

You have an opening just like,

see the path.

478

:

But there's there's something

keeping him from that.

479

:

Yeah.

480

:

Like, even, like,

you know, when he went to go see Pernell.

481

:

Pernell even knew.

482

:

Pernell was like listen man, just go.

483

:

Go with them.

484

:

Look out for my son.

485

:

You know, be there for my son.

486

:

Tell him that.

487

:

Show him

that what we were doing was wrong.

488

:

It was B.S., right?

489

:

Yeah. Show him a better way.

490

:

I think that might have probably

been icing on the cake right there.

491

:

That kind of convinced him

because I think he was you know, I think

492

:

I think there's a there's a possibility

that even that he told Ronnie he wanted

493

:

he would do it, that he would leave.

494

:

I think there was still a possibility

that he was not going to do it

495

:

just based on his past actions.

496

:

Yep. Yeah.

497

:

I think Pernell

was probably the icing on it

498

:

when Pernell put it to him straight

and he as much as he admired Pernell,

499

:

I think that was the icing right

there, coming from somebody who lived that

500

:

lifestyle, who got caught up.

501

:

He survived, but he got caught up

502

:

and he's able to tell you, Listen,

don't do what I did.

503

:

Get out.

504

:

Take it from someone

who had the bad outcome.

505

:

I think it was cool.

506

:

And well, Pernell kind of gave

507

:

Caine the blessing to, you know,

508

:

become,

509

:

I guess, boyfriend girlfriend, you know,

have a relationship with with Ronnie.

510

:

It's like, I know she's fond of you.

511

:

Like, I'm not around and, yeah,

just take care of my son.

512

:

Like you said.

513

:

That was very big of him.

514

:

And that was that was big of him.

515

:

Yeah.

516

:

So let's talk

517

:

about Menace

II Society versus Boyz N the Hood.

518

:

I mean, they, they get compared

and contrasted quite a bit

519

:

in in retrospect,

again, in terms of the timeline.

520

:

Boyz N the Hood

521

:

came out in 1991, Menace

II Society in:

522

:

I'll kick it off since I haven't started

one of these discussions.

523

:

But yeah, in my opinion,

I thought that Boyz N the Hood was a more

524

:

well-crafted story with more thoughtful

character development.

525

:

Menace II Society was much more raw,

526

:

and the narration through Caine

I really like

527

:

he was narrating his own story,

kind of gave the viewer firsthand account

528

:

of his life as a youngster in the hood.

529

:

Obviously,

you have some folks that had the better

530

:

support system in Boyz N

the Hood, like Tre Styles,

531

:

and like I said, the relationship

between he, him, Doughboy

532

:

and Kenny was more well, well developed,

533

:

not so much with Caine and O-Dog,

You don't really see that relationship.

534

:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

535

:

So that's kind of how

I would compare it on the surface.

536

:

Do you want to chime

in some more DynoWright your thoughts?

537

:

Yeah, I agree with you.

538

:

I think there was more character

development in the in the other

539

:

in Boyz N the Hood.

540

:

They were really like

541

:

two bookends.

542

:

You know, Chuck D once said that

543

:

rap music is the Black people’s CNN.

544

:

And, you know, this was sort of like MTV.

545

:

Now it shows you what the life was like

in some of these places.

546

:

And so

547

:

the comparisons

there are very similar in that

548

:

the depictions of the life

were unflinching.

549

:

Maybe maybe Menace

II Society was a little more

550

:

graphic and violent. But,

551

:

you know, you got the same effect

552

:

and you saw that kind of the same stuff.

553

:

I think you're right.

554

:

I think there was a little more,

I guess, exploration of

555

:

getting out in in Boyz N the Hood.

556

:

Maybe

557

:

it's been a while since we watched it,

558

:

but it's really just Caine

trying to get out.

559

:

But in the other in Boyz n the Hood,

I think they were all sort of figuring out

560

:

what they were trying to do next.

561

:

Right?

562

:

You get to see the trajectory

of each of them

563

:

within the hood.

564

:

Yeah.

565

:

And trying to avoid the pitfalls

of the gangs, your neighborhood.

566

:

And there is that glimmer of hope

because there's that possibility of the

567

:

football scholarship.

There's different avenues.

568

:

There doesn't really seem to be a light

569

:

at the end of the tunnel for Caine,

even though he's offered these ones.

570

:

But nothing really was like

571

:

no, nothing stuck with him, obviously.

572

:

And as we said.

573

:

No, I think.

574

:

Yeah, Sorry to finish that point.

Go ahead.

575

:

Yeah.

576

:

That the way to get out

there were there were more ways

577

:

to get out shown in Boyz N the Hood and

578

:

Menace II Society was like

the only way out is in a pine box.

579

:

Unfortunately.

580

:

Right.

581

:

BooGie, what are your thoughts

582

:

about comparing Menace

II Society with Boyz N the Hood as well?

583

:

No, I think I think you both summed it up

pretty well.

584

:

I think

585

:

I mean, they both do take place in the

same area, South Central Los Angeles.

586

:

So and they do both to depicted

587

:

the pitfalls of that area

in that time period.

588

:

I think you said

the storytelling is very different.

589

:

You you have first person

narration and menace

590

:

and we have the kind of looking

from the outside in in Boyz N the Hood.

591

:

But I do like the

the character development

592

:

that we did see him in Boyz n the Hood,

and that kind of made you

593

:

have a more of an attachment

to those characters.

594

:

Yeah, because we saw them as kids

and we saw the two,

595

:

the bond

that they shared from early on growing up,

596

:

even though we didn't see

597

:

every aspect of them growing up,

we saw them as it's kind of like

598

:

we kind of knew what they recover from

and how they became so tight

599

:

and we didn't really see

that in Menace but

600

:

I think we did

601

:

mention, though,

there was more than one avenue to get out.

602

:

So you kind of rooting

for those characters, all three of them.

603

:

The main character, you know, Doughboy,

604

:

Ricky and and Tre,

605

:

for all three of them to make it because

you kind of got a bit of an attachment.

606

:

You saw that there were

there was a bond between them.

607

:

So you didn't want to see any one of them

fail.

608

:

With Menace, I mean, yeah,

609

:

we were rooting for Caine, but, you know,

610

:

it was almost a lost cause.

611

:

Yeah, but, you know,

612

:

you don't want to

you don't want him to infect any area

613

:

you wanted to see where you at

614

:

or get put down to get locked up

or something like, what's going on Guy.

615

:

But, but now I think that you were both

summed it up pretty well though.

616

:

And yeah, they definitely are

617

:

like you said, done right there bookends

I think to that to that

618

:

area and definitely,

619

:

you know the visuals to

620

:

you know, what's going on at that time

621

:

period. And

622

:

in L.A., South Central, South Central L.A.

623

:

Early nineties tensions were high

624

:

with the Rodney King incident

and so very pregnant at the time.

625

:

Man, I have a mental block

where I always call Ricky Kenny.

626

:

And if you caught that

first for some reason, he must've

627

:

lost your mind.

628

:

I may have done that.

629

:

We did the other record,

like for some reason in my head he's like,

630

:

he's a Kenny where

where the iconic scene is like Ricky.

631

:

And I like.

632

:

Like why you might not remember the name.

633

:

I don't know why.

634

:

It just. It's just.

635

:

It's just some odd.

636

:

Kenny

637

:

you watch too much South Park.

638

:

Yeah.

639

:

Oh my God they killled Kenny.

640

:

Bastards.

641

:

Jeez, but yeah

642

:

Oh man.

643

:

Sorry about that.

644

:

Rest in peace, Ricky.

645

:

But the nice tie between the two movies

I just found out was that Ice Cube was

646

:

offered the role of O-Dog, turned it down

and regretted it ever since.

647

:

So there you go.

648

:

Imagine. Wow.

649

:

Yeah.

650

:

Ice Cube as O-Dog, goodness gracious.

651

:

That wasn't with a character. Yeah.

652

:

This whole different movie of Ice

Cube was the was O-Dog.

653

:

Because

654

:

I feel

655

:

like in Boyz N the Hood, Doughboy’s

really charismatic.

656

:

And like you, I was really rooting for

for Doughboy to survive the movie.

657

:

Yeah.

658

:

And yeah, I think if he gave

659

:

that humanness to O-Dog,

I think they'd be a different movie.

660

:

And maybe

661

:

the whole opening scene with the in

the convenience store is a lot different.

662

:

And so

663

:

a very interesting thought exercise

664

:

is to redo

this movie with Ice Cube is O-Dog.

665

:

Yeah, for sure.

666

:

But another fact,

we mentioned this in that Dear Mama,

667

:

Tupac legendarily was originally cast

to play Sharif, but he was fired

668

:

and that led to the physical fistfight

or physical fight.

669

:

And it was a one sided fight

probably, or attack on Allen Hughes.

670

:

And Tupac was charged

with assault and battery.

671

:

That was mentioned by Allen Hughes,

672

:

who did the documentary

series with Afeni Shakur.

673

:

So Tupac could have

674

:

played in this movie as well.

675

:

Yeah, that'd be crazy to have Tupac

and and Ice Cube in the movie.

676

:

Wow. Yeah.

677

:

Can you imagine?

678

:

We have MC Eiht playing A-Wax.

679

:

Yeah.

680

:

Too $hort. Yeah.

681

:

And even Yo-Yo was was at the party,

682

:

the going away party at the end where

683

:

Caine got tired of

684

:

watching advances of what’s his name?

685

:

his name? Chauncey.

686

:

Chauncey. Yes.

687

:

Got tired of Chauncey's advances on Ronnie

and decided to pistol whip him.

688

:

Yeah, like.

689

:

That's you boy.

690

:

How you gonna pistol whip your boy?

691

:

Like you could have just pulled him aside

and said, yo chill.

692

:

Yeah, Caine had no chill

by the end of the movie.

693

:

But you know the crazy thing about it

is that

694

:

even if the end didn't play out

the way it did, the circle was closing in

695

:

on both O-Dog and Caine because

696

:

Chauncey

decided to take that infamous tape

697

:

and send it to the authorities.

698

:

Yeah,

699

:

it's like

700

:

he decided, you know,

his retaliation was much smarter.

701

:

He said, You know what?

702

:

Okay, I'm not going to shoot him.

703

:

I'm going to get back at him,

but I'm gonna do it the smart way.

704

:

And I kept looking at Mr.

705

:

Butler, Sharif's dad, and I'm like,

Where do I know him from?

706

:

Where do I know him

from? Charles S. Dutton.

707

:

You know Charles S. Dutton.

708

:

Roc. The TV show Roc,

which was on for several years.

709

:

Yeah. I'm like,

I know that guy that smile.

710

:

Like, I know that guy.

711

:

And I couldn't place it,

like during the movie itself

712

:

because I hadn't seen Roc in years

713

:

but he’s very recognizable.

714

:

Yeah, for sure.

715

:

Yeah. Charles S. Dutton.

716

:

Yeah. Yeah.

717

:

Both of these films

had some really terrific actors.

718

:

Really?

719

:

Just think of Tupac as Sharif

in this movie.

720

:

I mean,

we saw how much he chewed up scenes

721

:

in Juice and Above the Rim

and and those movies.

722

:

And imagine what this movie

be like with Tupac

723

:

in that role, which, I mean, Sharif,

724

:

not a big role,

725

:

but man, Tupac would probably make it

a big role.

726

:

Right?

727

:

Yeah, So many so many big names here.

728

:

Even even Glenn Plummer,

who played Pernell he's in another movie,

729

:

ironically, titled South Central.

730

:

Oh yeah, Yeah.

731

:

Good movie.

732

:

Very good movie.

733

:

Oh did y’all see Anthony Johnson?

734

:

Wait.

735

:

I saw him in the credits, but I couldn’t.

736

:

Okay, I’ll back it up.

737

:

So in the beginning, in the beginning

when Tat was

738

:

they were playing cards at the table

739

:

when Tat gets up to shoot the guy,

740

:

the guy with the with the with the fedora

on that was Anthony Johnson.

741

:

You know

what's funny is that all of my times

742

:

of watching the movie,

I didn't pick up on it until that time.

743

:

I watched

I watched it. I'm sitting watching.

744

:

I'm like, wait a minute

and I go to the credits, like,

745

:

wait a minute, I thought the wait a minute

I looked it up like, that is him,

746

:

because he wasn't being funny.

747

:

He was just he was kind of in

a serious role, even it was brief cameo.

748

:

But yeah that was Anthony Johnson.

749

:

Bill Duke is in this.

750

:

Bill Duke is a phenomenal actor.

751

:

Khandi Alexander's in this.

752

:

Clifton Powell.

753

:

Clifton Powell’s in this. Yep.

754

:

He. I was just looking at him, he's

been in a lot of stuff Clifton Powell.

755

:

Yeah. Dead Presidents.

756

:

Friday After Next.

757

:

Rush Hour.

758

:

He's still still doing things this year.

759

:

Great cast.

760

:

Yeah What about the soundtrack?

761

:

Had some

762

:

obviously MC Eiht’s on there.

763

:

Too $hort, Too $hort.

764

:

Pete Rock and CL Smooth.

765

:

Brand Nubian. Boogie Down Productions.

I love the soundtrack.

766

:

I listened to the soundtrack.

I had the CD.

767

:

Okay. And I listened to it.

768

:

I mean, almost every day,

the summer of 94.

769

:

And I had that CD

770

:

I got to Rider

and somebody stole it out of my room.

771

:

I went to play it one time.

772

:

I was like, Where’s my CD at?

773

:

How ironic.

774

:

They left the case.

775

:

They left the case!

776

:

Oh man, that's that's cold hearted.

777

:

I know we mentioned this one

when we were talking

778

:

about the best soundtracks

with DJ ARM and Cap Cee.

779

:

I don't know where it ranked,

but it was up there. It was up there.

780

:

And this was one my picks,

the soundtrack was one of my picks. You

781

:

go back and listen to that episode.

782

:

If you're into hip hop music

783

:

and soundtracks,

784

:

we list out a whole bunch on an episode.

785

:

Yeah, I enjoyed the music.

786

:

No one song really stood out to me

like, this track aww.

787

:

But I was I was head bobbing to

788

:

most of the songs that came on.

789

:

One other comment I and I had it was like,

I think like the action, the conclusion

790

:

kind of all happened pretty fast,

like the scene where it was like,

791

:

Ilena called Caine tells him

she's pregnant and like, he denies it.

792

:

And then like the scene with Chauncey

and then the retaila-, the brutal

793

:

stomping of Ilena’s cousin, like,

I think they, like,

794

:

brought it to a conclusion pretty quickly.

795

:

And I was like, wow.

796

:

My head was kind of spinning a little bit

at the end.

797

:

Yeah.

798

:

I don't know

if you guys had the same feeling.

799

:

You know?

800

:

Yeah, it did.

801

:

You know, the crazy

and crazy thing about it is that

802

:

that's just

how quickly things can get out of hand.

803

:

Unraveled that quick.

804

:

Yeah.

805

:

You know, if everybody moves off of

impulses, you go from 0 to 100 real quick.

806

:

Yeah. Yeah. Well,

807

:

yeah, I feel like Boyz N the Hood

808

:

also, that climax scene

sort of took longer to play out.

809

:

And this one was like,

boom, drive by, it's over.

810

:

Right?

811

:

And like, those guys weren't

even that scene with that whole scene,

812

:

it brought those guys into the fold who

happened like much earlier in the movie.

813

:

Like,

814

:

it wasn't even interesting, it’s

like oh yeah.

815

:

Remember that guy right there?

816

:

Yeah, that's him. Yeah.

817

:

You hadn't seen them, like, for, like,

818

:

good, like, you know, half an hour

or something like that.

819

:

Yeah.

820

:

And I really felt bad for Sharif.

821

:

Yeah.

822

:

Him getting killed in a drive

by was like, man.

823

:

Yeah. That was really sad for me.

824

:

Yeah, that was.

825

:

That was extremely sad

826

:

because he was really trying to get out

and he was, he was friends with them.

827

:

But you, you could clearly see

that his head was in another place.

828

:

Yeah.

829

:

He, he, he was supposed to be doing

different things.

830

:

Yeah. Mr. Butler having to bury him.

831

:

He was mature behind beyond his years.

832

:

Yeah.

833

:

And on a higher plane.

834

:

I still can't get over

the fact that the Hughes brothers

835

:

were 20 years old when they made the film.

836

:

And the final, final,

very final scene was powerful.

837

:

Like, as Caine is slowly,

838

:

you know, dying from his wounds

and like, he's recalling his grandfather,

839

:

asking him if he cares

whether he lives or dies,

840

:

because that was one of those quotes,

like, do you care if you live or die?

841

:

And it's almost like he comes

to that realization too late that,

842

:

yeah,

I kind of do, but it's too late. Like

843

:

he had no care for that.

844

:

Like he was thought

he either thought he was invincible or

845

:

he just hid his

feelings because he had that

846

:

hard exterior and that hard

847

:

upbringing where he was desensitized

848

:

to everything but deep down,

he he had a lot to live for.

849

:

You know, he could have start a new life

850

:

with Ronnie in Atlanta,

you know, help raise Anthony

851

:

and reform himself.

852

:

But he didn’t

853

:

really get an opportunity.

854

:

On the flip side, though,

after I watched that whole scene,

855

:

first thing that popped into my head

was the Don't Be a Menace

856

:

to South Central While Drinking Your Juice

in the Hood version of it.

857

:

You know, And.

858

:

I almost feel like I have to go back

and rewatch that one again.

859

:

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

860

:

How everything is exactly parodied.

861

:

You definitely have rewatch that movie.

862

:

Right.

863

:

It'll make it so much funny, somewhat

funnier because.

864

:

Now you see all the references.

865

:

All the references. Yeah. Yeah.

866

:

While it’s

fresh in my head. Is it. Because it's.

867

:

Yeah, I mean, it's clear.

868

:

Clear references to Boyz N the Hood. Yeah.

869

:

Throughout the whole movie.

870

:

What?

871

:

Yeah.

872

:

Like we said, they, they really the Wayans

brothers did their homework on that.

873

:

Like they really, like analyze

every scene and like, Yeah, yeah.

874

:

Some of it's word for word or parody.

875

:

Each word is parody or like each scene

876

:

to the T is like, wow.

877

:

Yeah, they really. Ilena’s

cousin is in it.

878

:

That's the guy. The same guy.

879

:

Samuel Monroe, Junior same guy.

880

:

That’s classic.

881

:

Same scenario.

882

:

Yeah.

883

:

Like, wow.

884

:

Wow.

885

:

BooGie,

what do you say on Menace II Society?

886

:

Bring that funky flick back.

887

:

Bring that funky flick back

or leave it in the vault.

888

:

For it’s cultural relevancy.

889

:

It's very raw,

but yeah, bring that funky flick back.

890

:

Okay, DynoWright?

891

:

I think this movie still resonates,

892

:

so I will bring this funky flick back.

893

:

And I am of the same vein.

894

:

I will bring this funky flick back.

895

:

Like I said, we talk about like,

I like Boyz N the Hood better overall.

896

:

Like Boyz N the Hood is one

897

:

that I would rewatch more willingly,

like multiple times.

898

:

For me,

this one's very brutal and raw and like,

899

:

really well-done and super relevant

900

:

and strong messages,

901

:

but like, it's one that I wouldn't watch

maybe multiple times

902

:

or like kind of

just leave it on in the background.

903

:

It's uncomfortable.

904

:

Yeah, right.

905

:

That's probably why you're comfortable.

906

:

Really uncomfortable.

907

:

Like that.

908

:

More of a comedies, comedy guy

or like, stuff like that.

909

:

But yeah, that's, that's kind of why.

910

:

But that was again,

that was the Hughes Brothers’ plan.

911

:

Like they accomplished

what they set out to do.

912

:

Shock value.

913

:

1993. Wow.

914

:

I mean, 30 years ago.

915

:

Yeah.

916

:

And you’re putting it out there.

917

:

So yeah, kudos to them.

918

:

This is one hip hop fans and crime

drama fans should see

919

:

if you haven't already.

920

:

Bring it!

921

:

C’mon!

922

:

Hip Hop Movie Club is produced

by your HHMC’s JB, BooGie, and DynoWright.

923

:

Theme music by BooGie.

924

:

Bring it! C’mon!

925

:

Check us out on Facebook and Instagram

@HipHopMovieClub.

926

:

(Bring it!

927

:

C’mon!) On the next episode of the Hip Hop

928

:

Movie Club podcast,

your HHMC’s will review Hustle and Flow.

929

:

Subscribe now on your favorite podcast app

and you won't miss it.

930

:

Shout out to you listeners.

931

:

Thanks for tuning in.

932

:

And remember, don't hate. Levitate.

933

:

Bring

934

:

it! Levitate.

935

:

Rise above it all.

936

:

That’s what Caine should have done but.

937

:

Caine should have

levitated and rose above it.

938

:

The song Levitate with Da Baby and Dua

Lipa.

939

:

That was. Big. Yeah. Couple years ago.

940

:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

941

:

My daughter loved that one.

942

:

She was singing a lot.

943

:

Catchy. That's very catchy.

Show artwork for Hip Hop Movie Club

About the Podcast

Hip Hop Movie Club
Harmonizing the rhythm of hip hop with the magic of movies
This show harmonizes the rhythm of hip hop with the magic of movies!

HHMC is brought to you by a trio of longtime hip hop fans: JB, an 80s and 90s nostalgia junkie, Boogie, a veteran DJ and graffiti artist, and DynoWright, podcaster and filmmaker.

Upcoming Hip Hop Movie Club events:
Feb 15 - Samples N' Friends, Rider University
https://www.rider.edu/about/events/black-history-month

Feb 28 - Juice screening and talkback, SteelStacks, Bethlehem PA
https://www.steelstacks.org/event/15642/juice/

More events to be announced! Subscribe to our newsletter and get updated on events: https://hiphopmovieclub.substack.com/