Why You Need to Watch “Paid In Full.”

Say you grew up in a rough neighborhood, and you tried to stay out of trouble your whole life, but the temptation is all around you. Could you resist that temptation? Imagine, growing up in the 1980s in Harlem and you made 75 dollars a week at a dry cleaner but knew you could make 25 thousand dollars a week by selling a kilogram of cocaine. What would be your breaking point? I bet 95% of you guys reading this would sell the drugs if this were the case in your life.

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

If you are into African American culture or if you are interested in it then go and watch this film. My best friend said, “Anyone who is actually in with Black culture has seen this film.” That is why I am about to tell if you know nothing about black culture and if you are completely oblivious and ignorant to it, then you should explore something new and walk in the shoes of these three best friends who take over the drug trade in the streets of Harlem.
The logline states:

“This fictionalized account of three real-life Harlem drug dealers is told in flashbacks as they plunge into the world of hustling.”

Wood Harris plays Ace, who at the beginning of the film works at a dry cleaner and resists the temptation from his sister’s boyfriend Calvin to join the drug game. Despite his best friends being drug dealers as well, he still resists. After Calvin goes to jail and comes across some free cocaine, he begins to take Calvin’s spot on the streets and slowly with his connections with the Dominican drug cartel through his job at the cleaners. He begins his rise to the top of the streets with his best friends Mitch and Rico becoming the Kingpin.

The reason why I recommend this film is because rather than focusing on the flash and bling of being a drug dealer it emphasizes how greed can overcome trust and friendship. Would you cross your best friend and rob him for money? Also, this film highlights how hard it is to get out of the drug game because of the temptation, pressure, and protecting your reputation on the streets. Wood Harris’ performance in this film neutralizes all of the opulence, temptation, and glory that this type of culture is usually portrayed and brought upon in pop culture. That is an adamant thing to do as an actor because his performance peels all of those layers away and focuses on the main themes of temptation, greed, trust, and friendship; making this film special.

Ace is quite the opposite of most hustlers on the streets. He is quite, lays low and wants to stay out of trouble. He only cares about his soldiers and making his money. He doesn’t care about driving fancy cars, watches, clothes, women, or partying. He is boring, and that is why he is successful.

I felt very empathetic towards all three of the characters. I understand why they choose the life that they did choose and, that is why this film is enjoyable to watch. Most movies about the streets glorify robbing, money, drugs, sex and etc. This film focuses on its major themes and gets you to empathize with people of whom you would not ever give a to chance in real life.

I would also like to point out that the film’s soundtrack is incredibly authentic to the place and time. Films are how I discover music that is old or new. The soundtrack alone should make you go and watch this film. It features Eric B and Rakim, Doug E. Fresh, Phil Collins, Special Ed, Twista, Jay-Z, and even Kanye West. If you love films with great soundtracks, then give this one a chance.

“Hood” is short for the neighborhood. Everyone has their own “hood.” We fear and reject what we don’t understand in life. That shouldn’t be the way we live life. If you want to understand something outside of yourself, then go and watch this film and comment below on what you think.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Beyonce, “I grew up in a very nice house in Houston, went to private school all my life and I’ve never even been to the ‘hood. Not that there’s anything wrong with the ‘hood.’”


“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation here: Venmo

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