When they're rapping about 'Poetic Justice,' they're really rapping about 'Poetic Justice'
On Kendrick Lamar's good kid, M.A.A.D. City (SPIN's No. 2 album of 2012), Drake collaboration "Poetic Justice" examines the allure of written communications. The use of a sample from Janet Jackson's 1993 janet. slow jam "Anytime, Anyplace," though, clearly makes the title an allusion to Jackson's starring movie role from the same year, in writer/director John Singleton's Poetic Justice. Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip do away with subtext and talk directly about Janet and the movie, which actually co-starred Q-Tip, in this Lamar-less remix of the track.
The oddly low audio fidelity of Busta's verses and the gushing nature of the verses bring to mind Lil Wayne's spacey ode to Ciara on his Da Drought 3 response to her "Promise." But the level of wistful detail in both rappers' verses brings an unmistakable whiff of verisimilitude to the proceedings. For us, it all triggers a weirdly specific memory of a Sacramento radio DJ gushing about Jackson's topless, jeans-unbuttoned photo in the album art.
Lamar himself might be able to relate. In a recent interview with GQ, he said his next project would be a short film. Asked who he'd want to star in it if he had his choice of anyone, he replied with a laugh: "I would love to see Rihanna in my movie. Looking at this cover right here, man." (Link GQ's, of course.)