Hustle & Flow Movie Debuts in Theaters – Today in Hip-Hop
XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
July 22, 2005: The independent film Hustle & Flow was released in select theaters on this day in 2005. Some say the popularity the film would come to achieve from several diverse audiences is a result of the subtle combination of a familiar-faced cast combined with a realistic, gritty and broadly relative storyline.
Director Craig Brewer pulled off a surprisingly well-meshed slew of actors like Terrence Howard, who plays the hard-knocked protagonist DJay; Taryn Manning playing Nola, one of DJay's main prostitutes; and Taraji P. Henson playing Shug as DJay's pregnant love interest. Chris "Ludacris" Bridges and the storyline serve as a bit of a romanticization of an otherwise disdainful situation, as DJay struggles to find balance and financial stability between his hustle as a pimp and drug dealer, and his aspirations of becoming a rapper.
Watch Hustle & Flow Movie Clip - "Man Ain't Like a Dog" Below
While a groundbreaking film in the visual arts industry, Hustle & Flow brought significance to hip-hop in arenas outside of its traditionally occupied demographic. Aside from being a film centralized by the rags-to-riches themes of rap, the soundtrack of the film would prove to be particularly moving as well, earning the film an Oscar for Best Original Song for Three 6 Mafia's breakthrough song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," which they also performed at the 78th annual Academy Awards in 2006.
Watch Hustle & Flow Movie Clip - "Recording 'Hard Out Here For a Pimp' with Shug's Vocals" Below
The song earned the Memphis group the distinction of being the first hip-hop group to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and the first hip-hop artists to ever perform at the ceremony. This performance at a longstanding and well-recognized ceremony in the film industry made what some would consider major headway in the level of regard and legitimacy for hip-hop held by other industry professionals.—Christina Kelly