In Harlem you don't buy respect... you earn it.
Cinematographer Ernest R. Dickerson directed and co-wrote this crime drama about a group of friends who get involved in a robbery. Bishop (Tupac Shakur), Q (Omar Epps), Raheem (Khalil Kain), and Steel (Jermaine Hopkins) are four Harlem friends who spend their days skipping school, getting in fights, and casually shoplifting. The only member of the group who has plans for the future is Q, who dreams of becoming a DJ. But one day Bishop happens to see James Cagney in White Heat and the film inspires him to buy a gun. His plan is to rob a corner store and split the money.
Everyone goes along with the plan except for Q, who is competing that night in a DJ contest. At the club, Q is a rousing success, but he spies the stern faces of his friends through the cheering crowd and realizes that he has to go along with the robbery, which goes completely wrong.