This soundtrack is easily the summer's hottest hip-hop collection, features an extraordinary line-up including T.I. & P$C, Juvenile, Trina, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Boyz N Da Hood, Webbie, 8Ball & MJG, Lil Scrappy, Trillville, and many others. The album also includes the film's star, Terrence Howard (Crash, Ray) performing tracks in his lead role as the street hustler turned rapper known as DJay. Atlantic. 2005.
"Everybody wanna be the king of the South" rhymes the P$C crew (featuring T.I. and Lil Scrappy), kicking off the Hustle & Flow soundtrack with the amped-up "I'm A King" remix. This film, about a Memphis hustler trying to become a respected rapper, won the Audience Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and appropriately, the soundtrack has the hottest dirty South (a.k.a. crunk) songs around. Lead actor Terrence Howard is a double-threat, not just playing up-and-coming rapper DJay, but also performing on a number of tracks in character. From the blacksploitation-affected "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" to the equally ('70s-esque title track, his contributions are respectable, but not nearly as pumped-up and crunked-out as the disc's standout tracks. Although the CD is rap-heavy, there are some great moments on the R&B front as well, including Eightball & M.J.G.'s lost-love track "Tell Me Why," and the disc highlight, "Still Tippin'", a Mike Jones/Nicole Wray remix that brings sweet Tweet-like grooves to the collection. Some of the CD's other contributors include Juvenile (who is typically clever in "Booty Language") and Webbie, who battles with Trina on "Bad B**ch Remix". Moms and dads should be forewarned, however, that there is nothing subtle about the lyrics on this disc: true to crunk, every imaginable expletive is crammed into these 20 songs and sound bytes, along with a hefty dose of gang-style posturing. For the under-18 set, best reach for the clean version. --Denise Sheppard