Follow TV Tropes


Film / Hustle & Flow

Go To
♫ You know it's hard out here for a pimp... ♫

"Well, you know what they say: Everybody gotta have a dream."

Hustle & Flow is a 2005 drama written and directed by Craig Brewer and starring Terrence Howard. It tells the story of a small-time hustler, DJay (Howard), who yearns to express himself artistically and pull himself out of the North Memphis ghetto.

Rounding out the cast is Anthony Anderson as DJay's producer "Key", Taryn Manning as rep "Nola", Taraji P. Henson as Love Interest "Shug" note , and DJ Qualls as recording tech "Shelby".

It won an Academy Award for Three 6 Mafia's theme song "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp."

This film provides examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: DJay is a pimp and drug dealer who'll do just about any other low-level crime to get by.
  • Asshole Victim: Although the punishment might not have fit the crime, Skinny Black qualifies. DJay angrily confronts and beats Skinny Black when the latter shows no remorse for drunkenly tossing the former's mixtape in the toilet.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Shug plants a giant kiss on DJay to wish him luck before his meeting with Skinny Black. It's the first overtly romantic gesture between them.
  • Bittersweet Ending: DJay goes to prison for 11 months, but on the outside, his songs are starting to get airplay, suggesting that he may become a success after all.
  • Bowdlerise: Key suggests that DJay tone down the lyrics in one of his songs so that it can be radio-friendly. They settle on "Whoop That Trick."
  • Call-Back: DJay tells the prison guards who give him their demo "Everybody's got to have a dream, the same dismissive observation that Skinny Black gave him, albeit presumably in a more sincere tone this time around.
  • The Cameo: Musicians Isaac Hayes, Ludacris, Juicy J and Haystak all have small roles.
  • Get Out!: DJay kicks Lexus out of his house when she openly disrespects him.
  • Gold Tooth of Wealth: Inverted. DJay has a gold tooth. It, along with the gold chain he wears with pride, are supposed to show that he's still small-time in comparison to the platinum-bedecked stars.
  • Hidden Depths: The meek Shug turns out to have a strong and passionate voice when she's singing.
  • Jerkass:
    • Lexus, who neglects her young child and is openly rude and disrespectful.
    • Skinny Black. Fame has made him forsake his Memphis roots.
  • Misogyny Song: "Whoop That Trick" is about disciplining your prostitute.
  • The Reveal: When Key asks DJay if he really knew Skinny Black, DJay admits that he lied.
  • Vocal Tag Team: DJay and Shug on their single "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp."
  • Wham Shot: DJay finds his mixtape in the toilet, which was tossed in by a drunk Skinny Black.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Nola calls DJay out on the fact that he manipulates her to get the things he wants – specifically, asking her to service the music shop owner so that he could get a better deal on some microphones.