Well, Frenchy, the movie wasn't exactly on my list of must-sees either, until "one of my artsy friends" (as Erykah Badu once sang) said she wanted to see it. After noticing that it won so many awards from so many unlikely areas, I decided that it probably wasn't a typical "one of those type" movies. So we went to see it.
And yes, it was really impressive. While it may indeed be a story about a pimp who wants to be a rapper, it comes across as the story of a guy who understands he's made some major mistakes in his life, that he feels has him trapped in a certain lifestyle that he's not even really very good at. He reaches a point in his life when he feels it's time to reach out toward some dreams. There are bumps along the way, and it's the story of how he navigates them.
This may not mean much to you, but not only did I long ago get sick of "hood" movies, I also really have never been able to tolerate Anthony Andrews. But not only was this a hood movie, it also co-starred Anthony Andrews. So if I'm still praising this movie over all of that, then trust me: it must be a really good movie.
(And hey, who knew Anthony Andrews could do such a great job in a serious role????)