It's Hard out Here for a Pimp

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"It's Hard out Here for a Pimp"
Song by Three 6 Mafia from the album Hustle & Flow soundtrack
Released 2005
Genre Gangsta rap, Crunk
Length 3:02
Label Atlantic Grand Hustle
Writer(s) DJ Paul, Juicy J, Cedric Coleman[1]
Producer(s) DJ Paul, Juicy J

"It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" is a song, written by hip hop group Three 6 Mafia and Cedric Coleman, as the theme song to the film Hustle & Flow.[1] It was ranked #80 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop".[2]


The song was performed in Hustle & Flow by Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson as their respective characters DJay and Shug. Three 6 Mafia included their own version of the song with vocalist Paula Campbell on a 2006 special edition reissue of their platinum album Most Known Unknown.

In 2015, Howard and Henson compete against each other in the Season 1 finale of the Spike series Lip Sync Battle and, by popular demand, performed the song as the first duet by competitors in the show's history.[3]

78th Academy Awards[edit]

At the 78th Academy Awards in 2006, Three 6 Mafia and Henson performed the song shortly before it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.[1][4] Howard did not wish to perform at the ceremony, and since two of the song's writers are themselves artists in the form of the trio Three 6 Mafia, they were given the opportunity to perform it. In the live performance, the word "bitches" was replaced by "witches" in the chorus. Three 6 Mafia became the first hip hop group to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and the first hip hop artists to perform at the ceremony.[5] It was the second hip hop song to win an Oscar, after Eminem's "Lose Yourself", from the film 8 Mile (2002).[1]

This song became the third in six years to win the Oscar without a Golden Globe Award nomination. The others were "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc. (2001) and "Al Otro Lado del Río" from The Motorcycle Diaries (2004).


  1. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 137. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Lip Sync Battle First Competitor Duet - It's Hard out Here for a Pimp (from Hustle And Flow) - Terrence Howard & Taraji P. Henson Spike TV on YouTube
  4. ^ Popkin, Helen A.S. (March 5, 2006). 'It’s Hard Out Here' for a good Oscar song. MSNBC. Accessed April 12, 2008.
  5. ^ "Three 6 Mafia Wins Oscar".