- Yaphet Kotto
- Rudy Ray Moore
Released in 1976, Monkey Hustle (or Hu$tle, as per the title cards) is a so-so entry in the African-American action/comedy films that were preeminent in the 1970's. The lead player here is Baby D (Kirk Calloway), a Chicago teen who apparently is a con-artist in training. He and his friends are mentored by Big Daddy Foxx (Yaphet Kotto), an established con-man (read:
'hustler') who has taught his apprentices how to fleece the unsuspecting from their (presumably) hard-earned money and merchandise. The popular hangout for the kids is at Mama's restaurant. Mama (Rosalind Cash) doesn't like the kids being taught how to steal and con, and only barely tolerates folks like Foxx and the even more flamboyant Glitterin' Goldie (Rudy Ray Moore).
The plot of the film, such as it is, tacitly revolves around plans for the city to build a highway that would go right through where Baby D and everyone else in this (south side?) neighborhood live. Thus begins the titular 'Monkey Hustle' which involves scamming city officials and others who have an interest in razing the neighborhood. Mostly, the civic activism of the plot only serves as a tenuous link for several extended skits and unrelated misadventures involving all the film's characters. Future soap star Debbi Morgan and future "Hollywood Shuffle" director Robert Townsend are among the film's younger cast.
Link to soundtrack review
Jack Conrad - Monkey Hustle (1976)
Jack Conrad - The Monkey Hustle / Harry Betts - Black Mama White Mama (Two in one)