Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 9:30 am.
(Photo: Columbia Pictures)
Today marks the anniversary of the groundbreaking urban-drama Boyz n the Hood. While Matty Rich’s Straight Out of Brooklyn was released only a month before and dealt with many of the same issues, Boyz n the Hood captured the nation.
Directed and written by John Singleton, the story was based in South Central, Los Angeles and dealt with themes of drug abuse, violence, Black masculinity and fatherhood. The powerhouse cast included Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne and Ice Cube. The movie was also a big break for a flock of new actors — Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Regina King and Cuba Gooding, Jr., who eventually won an Oscar for 1996’s Jerry Maguire.
Boyz N the Hood received two Oscar nominations — Best Director and Original Screenplay. Singleton was the youngest person to be nominated for Best Director and the first African-American.
What is your favorite moment from Boyz n the Hood?
Published by Clay Cane on Friday, August 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm.
The Lottery Ticket, starring Bow Wow and Ice Cube, is in theaters today. In our recent interview with Bow Wow he told us, “It’s a great film. It covers all bases. It’s a lot of things that people can relate to and it’s just a good family-friendly film that you can take your girl to, your kids to. There’s a strong message behind this movie and a real story behind it. I hope that’s what people take from it when they leave the theater.”
In addition, the legendary Ice Cube said in our interview, “It’s about how everybody hates on you when you don’t got nothing. Then, you come across love and people are real fake when you get successful. So Bow Wow has to figure out who his real friends are. It’s a funny movie when it gets to that, and it deals with a lot of materialism.”
Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm.
On Friday, August 20th Bow Wow andIce Cubereturn to the big screen in The Lottery Ticket. The film also includes Naturi Naughton, Terry Crews and the up and coming Brandon T. Jackson.
Kevin Carson (Bow Wow), a young man living in the projects, wins $370 million in a nationwide lottery. When his opportunistic neighbors discover he has the winning ticket in his possession, Kevin must survive their greedy and sometimes even threatening actions over a three-day holiday weekend before he can claim his prize.
BET.com snagged an exclusive clip of Jackson’s talking about his character — check it out!
Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 12:00 am.
There has been talk of a biopic on the legendary rap group N.W.A. Now, The Hollywood Reporter reports the upcoming film, appropriately titled Straight Outta Compton, has a writer, Andrea Berloff (see above).
N.W.A consisted of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella and the late-great Eazy-E. The group was only together for five years but is considered one of the most influenetial groups in hip-hop. Their name stood for “Niggaz With Attitude” and they released four albums from 1987 to 1991. In 1991, their last album, Niggaz4Life hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (even though Ice Cube had already left the group).
Andrea Berloff is an interesting selection to write the script for a movie about five Black men from Compton. The group captured the nation with lyrics that were labeled as misogynistic, anti-Semitic and politically incorrect. Some examples are songs like “One Less B**ch,” “I’d Rather F**k You” and “A B**ch Iz a B**ch.”
Berloff’s only other writing credit is Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center from 2006. You know people get enraged when Whites use the N-word? I wonder if she gets a N-word pass while writing the movie considering the name of the group! I’m just saying…
I’m all for someone getting a gig, but considering I know so many Black screenwriters who are looking for work it’s a bit disappointing that someone who seems (I could be wrong — maybe Berloff has an inner ’80’s gangster in her!) so far removed from this type of story is getting the chance to write it. Not saying someone needs to live and breathe the ‘hood to write a biopic on N.W.A. but this group wasn’t Salt-n-Pepa or The Sugarhill Gang — they were politically charged in a way that scared both Whites and Blacks.
Also, I’m all for people of different races writing other stories. Whites writing the stories of African-Americans goes back to the days of Good Times and even further. An African-American did not write the screenplays for Dreamgirls orThe Color Purple– I only wish there was as much diversity the other way around. Nonetheless, I hope the story is properly told and not exploitated or watered down. Word is Ice Cube is producing the project along with Eazy-E’s widow so maybe Berloff got the stamp of approval from Cube himself — if that is the case then considering Cube’s success in Hollywood Berloff must be a good pick.
Do you think Berloff is a good choice for the screenwriter on the N.W.A. biopic?
Published by Clay Cane on Monday, August 10, 2009 at 12:00 am.
Variety is reporting that Ice Cube and Bow Wow are pairing for the urban comedy Lottery Ticket.
Story revolves around a young man, portrayed by Bow Wow, living in the projects who has to survive a three-day weekend after his opportunistic neighbors find out he’s holding a winning lottery ticket worth $350 million.
This is definitely a good look for Bow Wow, considering his music career has been on shaky ground in 2009. In addition, Ice Cube is a perfect mentor to properly transition him into film. Bow Wow has appeared in other films like 2002’s Like Mike, 2005’s Roll Bounce and 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Ice Cube is well known for films like the Friday franchise and Barber Shop.
Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 12:01 am.
In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s there were many music movements taking over the world. Grunge rock, “gangsta’” rap and one movement that was just as important, yet didn’t receive mainstream attention: The Good Lifers movement. They were a group of talented Los Angeles teens giving a different option for hip hop from the popularized west coast gangsta style. Communing at The Good Life Health Food store from 1989 to 1995 for open mic night, their talents attracted attention from Lenny Kravitz, Fat Joe, Ice Cube and even Shannen Doherty of “90210” fame. Many artists were signed, all on the verge of massive success—however, it never happened.
The documentary about the Good Lifers, “This Is The Life,” hits DVD today. Critically acclaimed, the film, directed by Ava DuVernay, was the winner of Audience Awards in Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle. At first, one might think, “Another documentary on hip hop?” But, “This is The Life” gives a fresh, introspective look at teenagers who challenged the pop standard all through creativity, talent and passion. This little-known musical movement is humanized with the stories of artists and groups like Medusa, Figure of Speech, Pigeon John and Freestyle Fellowship; artists who never got their respect in the music industry.
“This Is The Life” includes vintage footage from the days of The Good Life, which is interesting to watch and hear. But, the real truth is when you hear the personal stories of the artists. One rapper, Peace, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, which put a halt to his career with the group Freestyle Fellowship. There is insight from the female artists such as Medusa and Figure of Speech, who gave sharp takes on gender. Most surprisingly, are the accusations that artists like Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and groups like Bones Thugs N Harmony allegedly stole ideas from The Good Lifers crew.
The documentary skillfully and honestly answers the question, “Why didn’t they make it?” Several artists were signed to labels, graced the covers of magazines, and had music videos, but still fell short of the glory. As one person explained, The Good Lifers were more concerned with just being artists rather than businesspeople. In trying to answer the question, DuVernay reveals a vicious, seedy and manipulative side of the music industry that every aspiring artist from rock to hip hop should know.
While there have been countless documentaries on hip hop, this is a story that needs to be told. After the film’s 97 minutes end, “This Is The Life” manages to restore your faith in the art form of hip hop. Maybe hip hop isn’t dead.
“This Is The Life” is available on DVD today. You can purchase at www.goodlifelove.com and it’s also available on Netflix and Indie Flix.
Ice Cube has locked in a director for his next film, “Janky Promoters, starring himself, Mike Epps and Terry Crews.
Marcus Raboy, who directed “Friday After Next” will do the duties for “Janky,” which follows the shenanigans of a pair of shady concert promoters (Cube and Epps), self-described “Modesto’s finest,” who get in over their heads when they get a shot at booking a big-name hip-hop act (an actual rapper whose deal was closing Tuesday). Complications come in the form of a pot-growing neighborhood nemesis named Mondo and Cube’s character’s son (Nickelodeon star Little JJ), who is under contract with the old man. Much like “Friday,” all the action takes place in a day.