Hustle and Flow
Produced by Crunk Pictures and New Deal Productions
Directed and written by Craig Brewer
Distributed by MTV Films and Paramount Classics
Bulletin: Pimps and rappers have hearts; they have yearnings; they have midlife crises, for heaven’s sake! Sure, they exploit and abuse women, deal dope, and occasionally shoot one another; but, hell, they’re just folks striving for the American Dream like everyone else in our uproarious republic.
So what does a rapper-pimp’s American Dream look like? Director Craig Brewer’s first film Hustle and Flow puts us in the picture with Skinny Black (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges convincingly playing a standard-issue platinum rapper, being one himself). Skinny tells it like it is. For this beaux ideal of all would-be hip-hop niggahs, both black and white, the American Dream is “a drink in your hand and p---y in your lap.” As dreams go, this does not seem to be asking for much. Indeed, one might say it asks for much too little. What about a family, a home? What about a reasonably priced education for your kids? How about the freedom to seek truth, beauty, and goodness? Forget about it. In hip-hop culture, hormonal spontaneity is all. White-bread goals have to wait at the end of a long, long line of fleshly gratifications.