It’s the ultimate “hood” movie and a hip-hop classic and cultural influencer. In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Menace to Society, AllHipHop.com takes a look back at the movie, our favorite characters, and our favorite quotable lines.
Tyrin Turner as Kaydee “Caine” Lawson
Quotable: “Yo, I don’t think you know me, homie.”
1993: Turner seemed to have appeared out of nowhere when he turned up as the star of Menace to Society in 1993. Prior to the film, Turner appeared in Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” video as well the 1992 crime thriller Deep Cover. As Caine, Turner brought to life one of urban films most memorable protagonists.
2013: After Menace, Turner made numerous television and music video appearances. For a short time, Turner was also as a member of the Geto Boys, appearing on several albums, although he never released a solo project. Turner also played another memorable urban film character appearing as “the illest ni**a in Nebraska,” Rico in Belly.
Larenz Tate as O. Dog
Quotable: “What you say about my Momma?”
1993: Starting his career with a string of television appearances as far back as the 80s, Menace to Society was Tate’s first feature role. O-Dog was the film’s youngest and most dangerous character, often killing for the slightest perceived disrespect.
2013: Between 1995 and 1998, Tate starred in Dead Presidents [also a Hughes Brothers film], the cult classic Love Jones and Why Do Fools Fall in Love: The Frankie Lymon story. In the early 2000’s, Tate had roles in the Oscar-winning films Ray and Crash. Larenz Tate recently got into directing, crafting a Conjure Cognac commercial for friend, Ludacris.
Jada Pinkett-Smith as Ronnie
Quotable: “See, that’s the key word. Caine. N***a, you ain’t Caine, stop drinking up all the beer.”
1993: After moving from Baltimore, MD to California, Pinkett-Smith networked her way into small roles and behind the scenes work. In Menace to Society, Pinkett-Smith played Ronnie, a single mother to the child of Caine’s surrogate father Pernell. Once Pernell is sent to prison to serve a life sentence, Caine takes on the responsibility of looking out for Ronnie and her and Pernell’s son Anthony. Their relationship ends up being one where they take care of each other until they fall in love and intend to move to Atlanta, GA with Pernell’s blessing.
2013: Pinkett-Smith experienced a great amount of success after Menace throughout the 90s. She was featured on A Different World, and starred in the urban film classic Set It Off. Pinkett-Smith has also made strides as a wife, musician, mother, business-woman and humanitarian. With husband, Will Smith they have produced movies and television series through their production company Overbrook Productions. Her children Jaden and Willow are both musicians and actors.
Clifton Powell as Chauncey
Quotable: “Yo, Wax. Let me get some links with them grits, n***a. I’m hungrier than a muthaf**ka out here.”
1993: Powell appeared in in Menace as a neighborhood OG who only cared about himself. Chauncey was one of the films least likable characters. He dimed Caine and O-Dog out to the police after catching a beatdown over Ronnie, in fact, one of the best things about him was his nickname, “Fa**ot A**Chauncey.”
2013: Since Menace, Powell has gone on become one of the hardest working men in black Hollywood. He has appeared in numerous major and independent films. Powell’s second-most recognized character is Pinky, a pimp and record store owner in the Friday franchise.
Bill Duke as “Detective”
Quotable: “You know you done f**ked up, don’t ya?”
1993: Known for his imposing physique with a height of almost 6’4″, Bill Duke debuted in the 1976 classic Car Wash as Abdullah Mohammed Akbar, a hood dude turned Muslim revolutionary. Duke has played a number of action and crime drama roles, but sometimes dabbles in comedy. His role in Menace was both terrifying and funny when he caught Caine up in a lie during questioning about the liquor store slaying.
2013: Duke is still working. He did a voiceover for a Boondocks episode, reprising his famous line. Duke also played a drug kingpin in 50 Cent’s biopic, Get Rich or Die Trying. Bill Duke is also a Director and mentor for young people seeking careers in the creative arts.
MC Eiht as A-Wax
Quotable: “Both of y’all actin’ like some muthaf**kin’ bi**hes… Man, gimmie my muthaf**kin’ joint.”
1993: MC Eiht, released three albums as one of the founding members of rap group Compton’s Most Wanted before signing on to be a part of the Hughes Brothers’ debut film Menace to Society. While his character A-Wax was expert at playing either the devil’s advocate or the devil himself, MC Eiht is best remembered for his role in the movie’s soundtrack. “Straight up Menace” was a narrative from Caine’s point of view from childhood until his unfortunate demise.
2013: Currently, MC Eiht is experiencing a career revival after signing with DJ Premier’s independent label Year Round Records in 2011, and his recent contribution to Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut Good Kid, M.A.A.d City.
What’s your favorite Menace II Society quote or character?