Anthony Anderson plays Key, a friend of his from school, whom he bumps into one day at the corner store. Key has since then become an audio engineer at his church. He too once had dreams of making it big in the music business and remembers Djay’s from school and his talent. It’s only a matter of time before the two start working on songs, in preparation of Skinny Black’s visit. We watch as the crew chases their dreams, while fighting to escape their lives in the streets. They add Shelby (D.J. Quills) to the crew, turn Djay’s house into a mini recording studio and make a demo. Unlike “8 Mile”, where the concentration was on the battles and the storyline of the conflicting crews, “Hustle & Flow” shows us a rag-tag group desperately trying to improve their life with the only card they have left.
The scenes that show the actually working process of making music with limited tools is a reality for many artist. When Djay pulled out that Casio SK-5, I almost fell out of my chair! I don’t know how many song I heard back in the day, made on that same keyboard, that were amazing! Some people might find these scenes too long, but those of you out there on the musical grind should feel it. I thought they added a sense of reality to the overall plot. (“Turn off them fans Nola!”) Soon the demo is done and the day of the party is at hand. When Djay and Skinny Black met, the day he has dreamed of suddenly becomes a nightmare!