1990s Explosion of Hood Films
The 1990s was an era that saw the rise in stories that focus on African Americans living in inner-cities communities. Storytellers like Spike Lee, John Singleton made some of the most iconic movies that reflect the experiences of those youths who faced dangers in environments afflicted by gangs, drugs, guns, and violence. Scroll through this list for the highest-rated hood movies made during the 1990s.
Caught Up (1998), overall rating: 5.5
Poor choices and bad luck land Daryl (Bokeem Woodbine) a Los Angelean in prison. Daryl wants to go straight after years in prison. He meets a cute girl who helps him find an honest job driving. He wants to save up and open a nightclub. But then gems and mayhem pop up and in other scrapes with his girlfriend (Cynda Williams), Daryl's life starts to turn upside down.
Players Club (1998), overall rating: 5.9
Single mother Diana Armstrong (LisaRaye McCoy) takes to sliding down a stripper pole in order to pay for college -- and make a better life for her child. But taking off her clothes for a paying audience is the easy part at the Player's Club. More challenging for Diana is staying on the good side of motormouthed club owner Dolla Bill (Bernie Mac), avoiding the club's unsavory cast of characters and helping her newbie stripping cousin, Ebony (Monica Calhoun), stay on the straight and narrow.
Sugar Hill (1993), overall rating: 5.9Roemello Skuggs (Wesley Snipes) and his brother, Raynathan (Michael Wright), grew up surrounded by crime. As an adult, Roemello becomes a high-ranking drug dealer. Roemello's girlfriend, Melissa (Theresa Randle), however, does not approve of his lifestyle, and, after some violent altercations, Roemello begins questioning his choices also. Roemello and Melissa decide to start over in North Carolina, but Raynathan does everything he can to keep his brother from leaving.
Belly (1998), overall rating: 6.2
Ever since they were kids, Sincere (Nas) and Buns (DMX) have lived a life close to the edge, doing whatever it takes to survive. As adults, they build up their kingdom of crime on drug dealing and robbery. But Sincere grows weary of the criminal lifestyle and joins a black Muslim religious group. Buns, on the other hand, sinks deeper into criminality and face serious prison time. The cops offer him a deal, however -- assassinate the head of the Muslim group, and he will go free.
Baby Boy (2001), overall rating: 6.4
Okay, this one was not in the 90s but I had to mention it because it one of those that definitely needed to be mentioned. It tells the story of Jody (Tyrese Gibson), a misguided, 20-year-old African-American who is really just a baby boy finally forced-kicking and screaming to face the commitments of real life. Streetwise and jobless, he has not only fathered two children by two different women-Yvette (Taraji P. Henson) and Peanut (Tamara LaSeon Bass) but still lives with his own mother. He can't seem to strike a balance or find direction in his chaotic life.
Above The Rim (1994), overall rating: 6.6
This movie tells the story of a high-school basketball star (Duane Martin) who is torn by loyalties to a drug dealer (Tupac Shakur) and an ex-player (Leon). The challenges of living in the hood and being forced to face the dangers of making bad decisions are exceptionally showcased in this film.
New Jack City (1991), overall rating: 6.7
The film tells the story of drug tycoon Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) and his minions, known collectively as the Cash Money Brothers, who have rapidly risen to the top of the New York City narcotics trade. Under Nino's heartless leadership, the drug operation has grown into a multimillion-dollar empire. Scotty (Ice-T) and Nick (Judd Nelson), two police officers who know their way around the streets of Harlem, aim to bring Nino and his cohorts down. To do so, though, they'll have to play by Nino's rules and go undercover.
South Central (1992), overall rating: 6.8
During a 10-year sentence for murdering the leader of a rival South Central Los Angeles gang, Bobby Johnson (Glenn Plummer) finds religion and rehabilitation with the help of Muslim inmate Ali. Upon his release, Bobby returns home to find that his young son, Jimmie (Christian Coleman), has joined the Deuces, his old crew. Tensions rise as Bobby struggles to convince Jimmie to leave the gang that was his only family during the painful years his absent father spent behind bars.
Set It Off (1996), overall rating: 6.9
After being fired from her job as a bank teller, Frankie (Vivica A. Fox) begins working at a janitorial service with her friends Tisean (Kimberly Elise), a single mother; Cleo (Queen Latifah), a boisterous lesbian; and Stony (Jada Pinkett), who is dealing with the recent death of her brother. The women are struggling with their finances, so they decide to start robbing banks. At first, the group is successful, but they soon attract the attention of an obsessive detective (John C. McGinley).
Dead Presidents (1995), overall rating: 6.9
The movie tells the story of a Soldier named Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate) who returns to his Bronx home after a nightmarish tour of duty in Vietnam. But the nightmare continues for Anthony and his friends as they suffer the indignities of trying to find steady work and provide for their families in a flagging economy. As desperation takes hold, Anthony teams up with Skip (Chris Tucker), a drug addict, and Kirby (Keith David), a small-time crook, to pull off a bank heist that will give them all a chance for a better life.
Clockers (1995), overall rating: 6.9
The movie tells the story of a Nineteen-year-old named "Strike" Dunham (Mekhi Phifer) who is a small-time street drug dealer working for Rodney Little (Delroy Lindo), who wants Strike to kill a former dealer who stole from him. When the man turns up dead, Strike is suspected. But before homicide detective Rocco Klein (Harvey Keitel) has a chance to investigate, Strike's brother, Victor (Isaiah Washington), confesses to the crime -- and Klein suspects that Victor, a virtuous family man, is trying to cover up for Strike.
Juice (1992), overall rating: 7.1
The movie tells the story of four Harlem friends -- Bishop (Tupac Shakur), Q (Omar Epps), Steel (Jermaine Hopkins) and Raheem (Khalil Kain) -- who dabble in petty crime. They decide to go big by knocking off a convenience store. Bishop, the magnetic leader of the group, has the gun. But Q has different aspirations. He wants to be a DJ and happens to have a gig the night of the robbery. Unfortunately for him, Bishop isn't willing to take no for answer in a game where everything's for keeps.
Menace II Society (1993), overall rating: 7.3
After growing up in the gang lifestyle of the Los Angeles projects, 18-year-old Caine Lawson (Tyrin Turner) wants a way out. Everyone around him, including his unpredictable friend O-Dog (Larenz Tate), is trapped in their lives of crime and violence. With the help of his caring teacher (Charles Dutton) and supportive girlfriend (Jada Pinkett), Caine plans to leave the city for good. But in a series of tragic events, Caine realizes that escape will not be easy.
Fresh (1994), overall rating: 7.6
The movie tells the story of Fresh (Sean Nelson) a 12-year-old drug dealer who finds himself trapped in a web of poverty, corruption and racial tension in Brooklyn, New York. When his drug-addict sister Nichole (N'Bushe Wright) starts sleeping with local drug lord Esteban (Giancarlo Esposito), Fresh calls upon the skills he learned playing chess with his alcoholic father and speed-chess champion Sam (Samuel L. Jackson) and devises a complex strategy that will free both himself and his sister.
Boyz N The Hood (1991), overall rating: 7.8
The movie tells the story of Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) a young man who is sent to live with his father, Furious Styles (Larry Fishburne), in tough South Central Los Angeles. Although his hard-nosed father instills proper values and respect in him, and his devout girlfriend Brandi (Nia Long) teaches him about faith, Tre's friends Doughboy (Ice Cube) and Ricky (Morris Chestnut) don't have the same kind of support and are drawn into the neighborhood's booming drug and gang culture, with increasingly tragic results.