Hustle and Flow

July 20, 2013

When there is no choice, when there are no exits from despair, how does one react? Is one even aware? In impoverished Memphis, the “dirty south”, a pimp who has no other alternative to his life but sitting in a car and exchanging flesh for $20, the answer is to seize a set of good circumstances.


How often in life do such opportunities arise? Curiously, the answer is that opportunities are everywhere for the trained eye. What everyone lacks, however, is the training. Seldom do people feel the momentousness, the excitement, of discovering a business opportunity for themselves. They just wander through life hoping to buy a winning lottery ticket.


D-Jay, the pimp, discovers that a famous rapper is coming his town’s way. This changes the calculus in his mind when approached by a bum looking to sell a keyboard to him. It’s a crappy keyboard, but it’s the proposition aligned like the stars that gives D-Jay something to work towards.


Why does D-Jay prior to this not recognize that the best way to create opportunity for oneself is to train the mind? Clearly he lacks the capability to self-teach. Is this simply another indicator of the failure of public education? The answer is yes. Such pimp desperation and poverty is a consequence not of a lack of ability, but a lack of preparation for living.


In any event, the chain of serendipity continues with D-Jay who runs into an old acquaintance who remembers him scratching music a decade ago. Does this happen in real life so conveniently? The answer is yes, when the eyes are open to seize opportunity. Such a chance encounter would have been neglected before D-Jay created his dream of taking advantage of a famous rapper entering his sphere. Likewise with the keyboard sale.


Mixed between hope is the despair of poverty, attuned extremely well by the females in his household who he rents out. Life is a struggle, and a desperate life is a struggle to get out of. With dedication, D-Jay converts one of his bedrooms into a rough recording studio with the help of his lost friend, and begins laying tracks.


There is no guarantee of success. There is no guarantee that D-Jay will pave his way out of his hell hole. Then why even bother? Because he has no choice? The effort alone is a decision. He is creating his chance, he is making his luck with pen and paper, with microphone and synthesizer. It’s astounding how infrequent struggling for success occurs during the lives of the affluent western world. Many are content being told what to do and feeling resentment for those who reach, who aim, versus settle into a chair. Ironically, the settled masses would find D-Jay lucky, considering his dire circumstances make him more acutely aware of desperation, which is what nurtures his desire to get out of his mess, to get on MTV like Skinny Black, the rapper who his dreams rest upon.


D-Jay tells it like it is in his music. He bleeds out his agony. But will anyone listen to the lamentations of a pimp? Who cares about the poverty of his life but the already impoverished who can relate? The rise of capitalism makes it possible to be a massive commercial success with what appears to be an esoteric audience. D-Jay does not need to write material for his audience. His poverty is enough of a story for many to find captivating.


Grade: B-



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