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Summer of ’91 John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood

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Summer of ’91: John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood

Columbia Pictures

Summer of ’91: John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood

The idea behind John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood was simple enough: to translate the reality of “hood life” to film in much the same way that the Eazy-E song of the same name did to music. But while Eazy-E and the rest of his N.W.A. compatriots’ penchant for juvenile jokes and hell-raising—best exhibited by their infamous music videos for “Gangsta Gangsta” and “Straight Outta Compton”—helped catapult them to worldwide fame, such antics limited the appeal of their social commentary. John Singleton took similar concerns and tried to reach out to a broader audience by creating a conventional, self-serious melodrama that reveals the daily life of a Los Angeles kid learning, true to the lyrics of the Ice Cube single that led the film’s soundtrack, “how to survive in South Central.”