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1992 we were hit with this classic. A movie about Four New York City teenagers who got caught up in the pursuit of power and pleasure. They would purse “the juice”. The movie brought the urban scene of New York to the mainstream once again. After the success of New Jack City In 91 Hollywood caught on to hip hop and black culture. This time they got an established rapper by the name of Tupac Shakur and a talented cast around him to tell the story of Q, Bishop, Steel, and Raheem.  

The movie would send Tupac into stardom with his gritty performance of Bishop. A troubled high schooler who had ideas of what life should be like for him. Omar Epps got his feature film debut from this movie. He has had a storied career since. The movie was Wildly succesful with a budget of $5 million. It has grossed over $20 million to this day.  The cultural relevance of this movie Is still felt to this day as well! The film highlighted the struggles of the inner city youths and it went deep into the music as well. Q is a DJ and we as an audience get a front row seat as he attempts to bring his talents to a bigger stage.  The film futures Hip Hop Legends Queen Laftifah and Fab 5 Freddy.

More Importantly the movie highlights the idea of “Juice”.  What is “Juice”? It is portrayed as having power, respect, material. The Juice is something that’s not physically held. It’s a concept. Something that Bishop wanted. Checkout the scene below:

What we learn is that the Bishop is apparently ready to die to have the Juice. He makes it clear in this intense scene. The crew avoided being apart of a robbery that ended deadly. That day the teenagers made the right decision. They walked away from a terrible choice. Bishop is done walking away though. Believe it or not Bishop was really more bark than bite. Watch the following scene to see how he was getting punked at the beginning of the movie:

You can see clearly that Bishop isn’t stupid. He starts barking as soon as his homies come around the corner. Till this point he is a boy in a mans world and we see that clear as day! All that barking earlier in Steel’s apartment was a show as well.

Bishop was a boy wondering in this world alone. Out of The boys he is the only one with no stable home life. His family/home is only seen once throughout the movie. Bishop wanted to be respected, but he never accomplished receiving that.

A sucka with a gun can become a killer real easily. And that’s all Bishop was. a sucka with server abandonment issues. After convincing his crew to rob the corner store of the neighborhood jerk, the audience believes there is a shift. The movie wants us to believe that this power has been pushed off to him here. Bishop catches 2 bodies in the span of 2 and a half minutes. But, Bishop lacks finesse, he lacks control. After these sporadic murders we learn that he merely unhinged. No power has been gained. The classic scene below proves that Bishop does not have the Juice but is merely a sociopath:

People!!! The movie wants to sell us on this idea. But it really falls short here. We get to see inside the mind of a troubled black male youth. He chased this idea of something he never gained. Even after becoming a murderer, he is still not happy nor satisfied. He harms those who are loyal to him.  

Q gets told he has the Juice now. And that maybe true. He avenged his homies death, and defended his own life. But Bishop never had it. He was a troubled soul looking for an idea. He was abandoned by his family. He was bullied by the locals. Tormented with so many demons. He never had the Juice. Being a killer is not what having Juice is. He was good at killing. He was good with that gun. But he never had what he was looking for and that is still overlooked till this day. Hell, Bishop was killed after his first fight without that gun. He wasn’t even all that tough.