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4.6 out of 5 stars29
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 4 April 2007
Too often films about the hip-hop/rap world have followed the same story line, well this film takes a different look and delivers it well.

Terence Howard gives a powerful performance as DJay the pimp who's looking to change direction in his life by trying to become a rapper. He's very convincing in the part. The rap performances he delivers are realistic. Anthony Anderson plays his part very well as the producer.

I would recommend this film.
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on 28 July 2008
"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.

Highly recommended.
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on 25 April 2011
A film about a pimp taking the plunge and working towards his dream of being a rapper. An (apparently) warts and all look at a section of black American culture.
I can't say I know too much about any of this, and I have no idea if it's true to life, but the characters are believable and their interactions are at times inspiring, or hilarious, or gross, at other times, curious.
Perhaps the main message for me from this film is a really good reiteration of `it's not what you do, but how you do it, that really counts.'
Why? Because I don't really get hip-hop/rap, and it has little value to me (although some of the vocal agility is incredible to hear), but seeing the people in the film basing their lives and love around it in such an earnest, believable way just reminds me that anything any of us does is ultimately pointless: its our commitment and dedication that makes our ultimately pointless endeavours carry the meaning and value that we mostly appear to crave.
It's a good, life-affirming film. Framed in a fairly rough setting.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 May 2016
A tough, by moments unpleasant and shocking but still very good drama. I liked it a lot. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

DJay (Terrence Howard) is a pimp and small time drug dealer. He has a "stable" of three girls: Nola (Taryn Manning), the "white bunny", Shug (Taraji P. Henson), a shy gal, currently heavily pregnant and Lexus (Paula Jai Parker), who is loudmouthed and rebellious. DJay barely manages to break even and is quite obviously dissatisfied with his life. One day he meets succesively a keyboard for kids and an old friend from school, Key (Anthony Anderson), who has become a sound technician. That gives him an idea - he will make hip hop songs and get rich... And then the film really begins.

The main character is a mixture of pathetic and unpleasant, the three female characters live in misery and exploitation and as we all know the best laid plans frequently don't survive the first contact with reality, but somehow this film manages to stay optimistic. This is the story of a man and three (later two) women who try to change their lives to better and it is shown in a great way. I was quite impressed by the scenario, the actors (especially Taraji P. Henson) and, even if I don't really care much for rap, yes, even the music. The song "It's hard out here for a pimp" very deservedly received in 2006 the Oscar for Best Song.

Even if I cannot really sympathise with the main character, this film completely broke through my defenses in the anthology scene in which DJay prepares for the fight of his life, like a knight going to tornament. I also liked the humour, which is of greatest quality, even if frequently laced with obscenity. The last joke in the film really made me laugh out loud.

This film reminded me of "The Wire" and also "Set it off", even if it is less violent and less tragic. The quality of the direction is just amazing. Even if this kind of films is not my usual poison, I liked "Hustle and flow" a lot and I probably will keep the DVD. A recommended viewing.
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2009
Memphis, Tennessee isn't exactly the place you would think rap would thrive - but now the music is big, with rappers like Ludacris coming from the region, so MTV Films have made a movie about a young pimp trying to go straight in a city where hustling seems to be the most profitable thing to do. This film is looking at the ups and downs, making re acquaintances with old friends, and getting the dough to get the project off the floor.

This film is great, and not uber-gonzo like most of MTV's films, like Jackass The Movie and Step Up, The Streets, and it's not all gangsta and guns - but it shows the true emotions by both Djay (Terrence Howard) and the girls on the street. I think one of the best scenes is where he gets his best girl to get a microphone for him, because Djay has this big dilemma, which means he can get a better recording, or keep doing his thing.

The music is great in this, and the tracks recorded by Djay are the centre piece of the movie, I especially like the banging track he did when he first got the studio, but the one about hustling has to be the best.

Ludacris makes a special cameo for the movie as some old rapper who's gone all commercial, and that annoys Djay as he's very much underground. The funny thing is we never get to see who influences him. The producer, Shelby (DJ Qualls) is great too.

Definitely worth a look, it's not stereotypical and will change your mind about rap and how sometimes their rise to fame is more fascinating than their career.
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on 31 March 2006
The movie starts strong and carries through on roughly the same note for much of what's left. The difference between the 'great' bits and the 'average' are noticeable. One or two actors just can't leave the cliche characters they've played in the past where they belong - in the past. Fortunately the 'average' bits (and characters) are few, also the 'great' bits have enough momentum to carry through. It's not quite "Boyz 'N' Da Hood" classic, but it is a good movie (especially if you think all pimps wear fur and push a caddy). They don't make movies like they used to - except this one. Be good to yourself - see Hustle & Flow. Peace.
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on 18 November 2006
This is a highly impropable, yet somehow hugely entertaining film.

Everytime you think your headed directly to clichéland the movie takes a sharp detour. Helped by strong performances from all involved and a clever script and great music, this everday tale of pimp and ho folk, trying to rise above their chosen fields of expertise, is well worth the watch.

And it really doesn't matter if you don't like Rap music much!
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on 2 April 2011
One of my favourite films, a small time pimp has finaly had enough and wants to make somthing out of his life, he decides to get an old friend to turn a spare room in his apartment into a recording studio to start rapping, plenty of drama and good rapping by Terrence Howard, brilliant acting from all actors including Ludacris and is definatly worth buying
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on 12 December 2009
A Hip Hop tale with a heart. Great performances and no cliches. In fact, in places it tugs at the heart strings. This movie really is a lost gem and is really about regeneration. It's just that the central character uses Hip Hop as his medium to communicate his feelings and attempt to escape his surroundings. Check check check it out y'all.
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on 3 January 2013
This is a rare thing - a rather unique and funny take on the brutal and squalid existence of a warm-hearted pimp and his ladies.

All the performances are excellent, the script is compelling and often hilarious and the music stonkingly good.
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