“I love the game, I love the hustle, man… As long as n*ggas is feeling it, a n*gga like me could hustle it. That’s my gift in life, ay, you know?” -Mitch, Paid in Full
It’s impossible to believe it’s been 10 years since Roc-A-Fella Records released the movie, Paid in Full.
The film was heavily themed on money, power, and respect – the key ingredients to every ‘hood classic ever made. Based loosely around the events surrounding the 1980s Harlem drug kingpins Azie Faison, Alpo, and Rich Porter, Paid In Full and its director Charles Stone III brought out explosive performances by rapper Cam’Ron and Hip-Hop-flavored actor, Mekhi Pfifer. Wood Harris would shine in the film and later captivate us as “Avon Barksdale” on HBO’s “The Wire”, also directed by Stone.
AllHipHop.com takes a look at how Paid In Full changed the game through videos, lyrics, “Money Makin’ Mitch, and even a few rap names:
Young Jeezy’s “Soul Survivor” featuring Akon – When the song came out, it was explosive on its own merit. But, it was the visuals had all the dope boys going crazy about the video.
As a movie, Paid In Full has stood the test of time – 10 years later, and everyone from Meek Mill to Curren$y are still referencing the movie.
The character “Mitch” alone seemed to make a profound impact on viewers. His scene has been sampled by numerous artists, from Wale’s 11/11/11 mixtape, which features a snippet from the movie, to Ghostface Killah featuring Trife da God’s “Hustle Hard” lyrics.
On Meek Mill’s Dreams and Nightmares, the young MMG star explodes on the intro to his debut album by referencing Mekhi Pfifer’s character, Mitch.
On The Diplomats’ “I Really Mean It”, Cam’ron even made mention: “First role ever/ I killed Mekhi Phifer…”
Ultimately, Paid In Full shows the rise and fall of three drug dealers and how the game is loyal to no man. It seems the love of the game will never change, and the hustle will never stop! Most rap music is a reflection of what’s happening in communities across our country. Perhaps Paid In Full’s genius was the glimpse it offered into the mindset of what’s really good in the ‘hood.