The story revolves around Dennis Brown and his family who live in a housing project in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The atmosphere is surrounded by hip hop music (but it's rather quiet compared to most hood movies). Dennis's friends include Larry Love and Kevin Black. His girlfriend is Shirley. Dennis is a smart guy, who is fed up with the conditions he lives in, so he plans the ultimate plot, to rob a mobster by the name of Luther who is part of a Red Hook crime family, and his associate is Saladin. His father, Ray Brown, is an abusive alcoholic who blames white people for everything and beats up his mother. Larry Love is a troublemaker. In a grocery store he starts talking about his old girlfriend and trashes her new boyfriend, provoking him to almost fight, until his girlfriend stops him.
On a rooftop, Dennis, Larry and Kevin discuss their plan to rob Luther for the cash. Larry Love keeps whining that it's gonna get them in trouble. But they all agree. Afterwards, Dennis and Shirley spend a moments, but Shirley disapproves of what Dennis might be thinking, though she doesn't know it yet. Dennis reassures her that nothing wrong will be done by him and they kiss. Meanwhile Ray and Carolyn manage to finally settle things without violence and they hug, after it's reveal Carolyn got laid off, because of all the abuse Ray subjected her to. Dennis breaks his curfew, sleeping with Shirley, and Dennis comes home around 3, angering Ray, after hearing gunshots, and he promises "to kick your ass," when he finds out whatever Dennis might be doing on the streets.
The next day, Kevin goes to his pal's house to get the guns for the robbery. This displeases his buddy. As usually Larry Love insults him too, and this angers him. He agrees to give Kevin the guns, but warns him that if anything goes wrong and attention is brought on him, he will "treat you just like a stranger." Dennis finally reveals to Shirley his plan, and this gets her upset and they finally break up. Ray beats on Carolyn again, and this really moves Dennis to act on his plan. He, and Kevin and Larry finally get moving, and they find Salladine, and they rob him of his suitcase. Then afterwards, they go to the housing projects to celebrate, but this is when Dennis gets betrayed, and is put on their own, after revealing that they don't want the heat for robbing Luther's stuff.
Luther beats Salladin for losing the money, in a club, and warns him that he doesn't find his money he'll kill him. Dennis reveals to his father he got money, but when he says how, Ray snaps and grabs Dennis in a threatening fashion, saying he won't accept the money and saying, "You wanna be Mr Big Shot, huh. Who the hell do you think you are?". He then shoves Carolyn and she ends up in a coma, and needs to be hospitalized. Ray expresses regret for how he has treated Carolyn and promises to change. But it's too late. Salladin and his partner in crime find Ray and kill him in retaliation for the money. And not only that, but Carolyn dies.