The intro to Skyzoo’s new album A Dream Deferred features a dialogue from Boaz Yakin’s 1994 directorial debut Fresh. The compelling coming of age story is set against a drug-ridden New York housing project during the crack era and Sean Nelson’s character Michael, aka Fresh, is a young drug runner desperate to escape.
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In the dialogue leading into “Dreams In A Basement” Fresh is talking to his friend Chuckie, who is confessing to how lonely it is at home, despite how many people are there making noise. Fresh counters by talking about this dream he has, but is reluctant to share exactly what it is.
In the film Fresh’s sister Nichole (played by N’Bushe Wright) is a junkie who is involved with Fresh’s boss, a drug dealer named Esteban (Giancarlo Esposito) and Fresh hatches a plot (inspired by Chess games with his absentee father Sam (played by Samuel L. Jackson) that is as intricate and risky as a Queen’s Gambit.
The heart and intelligence that Fresh displays has made the film a hip-hop favorite (also cribbed by Big Pun for the intro to Capital Punishment) and evidently has stood the test of time.
But where are they now?
Sean Nelson, “Fresh”
Barely a teen when he starred in Fresh, Nelson has gone on to star in several film and TV projects, including Law & Order, The Wood, Stake Land and The Freebie.
Giancarlo Esposito, “Esteban”
Esposito was already well established in Hollywood by the time Fresh was added to his resume and since then he hasn’t slowed down a bit. In 2012 alone he stars in the upcoming Tyler Perry action flick, Alex Cross and is on TVs “Revolution”, “Once Upon A Time,” “Community” and the Emmy Award winning “Breaking Bad.”
Samuel L. Jackson, “Sam”
Jackson has gone on to setting the Guinness World record as the highest grossing movie actor of all time. How did he follow that up? Starring as Nick Fury in this other little film called The Avengers and hosted the 2012 BET Awards.
N’Bushe Wright, “Nichole”
This beautiful Alvin Ailey trained dancer followed up her performance in Fresh with a starring turn in the Hughes Brothers Dead Presidents and became a regular on “New York Undercover.” In 1998 she played opposite Wesley Snipes in the vampire flick Blade and even appeared on Chappelle’s show in 2004 as Calvin’s Girlfriend.
Guillermo Diaz, “Spike”
In his first speaking role Diaz didn’t register more than a blip as one of Esteban’s flunkies, but the Cuban born actor has gone on to be a good old American Badass. He is currently the most feared man in D.C. as Olivia Pope’s clean up man “Huck” on ABC’s “Scandal.”
Luis Lantigua, “Chuckie”
Lantigua easily had one of the most memorable lines in the film: “I got stupid juice. I bust the stupid dope moves.” But after an appearance on episode of “Law & Order” in ’96 he has been MIA.
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