Entertainment Television

TV review: Fuse's 'The Hustle' has flow

Take it from someone who's clueless about "the hippity-hop," you don't have to be a fan of the genre to enjoy "The Hustle," the first scripted series from music network Fuse.

Created by Prentice Penny (producer/writer on "Happy Endings," "Scrubs" and Fox's upcoming "Brooklyn Nine Nine"), "The Hustle" (10 p.m. CT June 19, Fuse; 3 stars out of 4) follows the fictional rap group Brooklyn's Finest as the duo, Kutta and D (Y'Lan Noel and London Brown, respectively), struggle to get signed by a major record label with the help of childhood friend and A&R rep Ya-Ya (Erica Dickerson).

Comparisons can be made to HBO's "Entourage"—like that show's Turtle character, the duo's buddy, Rashad (Clinton Lowe), keeps things light—but "The Hustle" actually has a grittiness more similar to HBO's other rags-to-riches tale, "How to Make It in America." The shaky, hand-held camera shots and seemingly improved dialogue delivered by a charismatic cast adds to the lo-fi realism.

And like ABC's "Nashville," the show uses original music created for its cast members, who also perform. The six-episode first season includes cameos from rappers such as Jadakiss, Freddie Gibbs, Red Cafe, Travis Porter and Nipsey Hussle, as well as radio personalities the Breakfast Club, DJ Whoo Kid and DJ Skee.

In Wednesday's premiere, Ya-Ya is working several angles to help the duo finally break out from the underground scene. But landing that elusive deal means complications for Ya-Ya as well as Kutta and D, who get an offer that tests their loyalties to each other and Ya-Ya.

Anyone who has seen "Entourage" or any biopic about someone who becomes a star will recognize the well-worn allegories of show-biz drama. It isn't easy to stay true to yourself, your friends or your vision in the shark-infested waters of the entertainment business.

I can't address the accuracy of the show's portrayal of the hip-hop world, but I applaud Penny for avoiding stereotypes in creating these very human, multi-dimensional characters.

With these appealing characters and generally strong storytelling, "The Hustle" has flow.

(FYI: That's the first episode in the video at top of the page.)

Want more? Discuss this article and others on Show Patrol's Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • June 2013 TV premieres, finales, movies and specials
    June 2013 TV premieres, finales, movies and specials

    The summer TV season gets in full gear this June, with so many new and returning series, specials and movies premiering I am not even sure where to start. AMC has resurrected "The Killing" (June 2) for a third season. The final seasons of "Burn Notice" (June 9), "Futurama" (June 19) and...

  • Meeting draws sharp debate over dog ban at Maggie Daley Park
    Meeting draws sharp debate over dog ban at Maggie Daley Park

    More than 200 people crowded into a Loop meeting to sound off about the Chicago Park District's decision to ban dogs from the recently opened Maggie Daley Park.

  • 1 killed, 2 wounded in South Side shootings
    1 killed, 2 wounded in South Side shootings

    One man was killed, and two others were wounded in shootings Tuesday afternoon and evening in the city's Park Manor, Bronzeville and Morgan Park neighborhoods.

  • City lists 'problem landlords' on website
    City lists 'problem landlords' on website

    Chicago's Building Department published its first "problem landlords" list on its website Monday night in an attempt to crack down and publicly shame apartment building owners into providing tenants with basic services such as heat, hot water and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Chicago brothers who infiltrated cartel given 14 years in prison
    Chicago brothers who infiltrated cartel given 14 years in prison

    After more than six years in protective custody, the twin brothers from Chicago's West Side didn't look the part of hard-core drug traffickers when they walked into a public courtroom Tuesday for the first time since flipping on the notoriously violent Sinaloa cartel.

  • Emanuel, mayoral challengers face off for first time
    Emanuel, mayoral challengers face off for first time

    The first face-to-face meeting of the Chicago mayor’s race featured Rahm Emanuel offering a measured defense of his first term against a barrage of attacks from challengers who assailed his record on neighborhood development and crime and even his temperament.

Comments
Loading