"There are those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk". This exchange between Djay, the lead character and his producer friend is one of them most poignant, touching and thought-provoking moments of the film.
Djay, a small time pimp and drug dealer, is increasingly dissatisfied with his life and does not know where to find hope or redemption until a chance meeting with a school friend, Key, who is a small time record producer, provides him with an outlet to express himself through hip-hop. Djay decides that he will try to walk the walk and with Key and Key's associate Shelby (Djay "but he is white", Key "no he is light skin"), they set about creating the music using Djay's lyrics, Shelby's music and Key's production.
The result is hard-hitting songs that reflect the misogeny, hopelessness, violence and anger that inculcate and define Djay's existence.
Taraji P Nelson's performance as Shug, the pregnant, brittle and insecure girlfriend is understated and powerful. Ludacris again demonstrates, as he did in Crash, that he is a competent actor.
This was a disturbing, honest, thought-provoking and gritty film which had depth that many contemporary films of all genre unfortunately lack.