In 1991, John Singleton’s coming-of-age tale, Boyz N the Hood, emerged right as Los Angeles’s gangsta rap became the dominant force in the nation’s urban culture.

The vernacular, the attention to detail and the characters were like your favorite rap album come to life. And the movie changed the lives and careers of all involved—especially its main cast members: Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Regina King.

Having directed ten movies in the 14 years since Boyz took Hollywood by storm, Singleton aspires to be no less diverse than another filmmaking idol, Steven Spielberg. Singleton says, “Spielberg once told me, ‘Just do anything, anything you want to do. And have fun with it.’ ” So that’s what he’s doing, paving the way for others in the process.