Poetic Justice (song)
|Single by Kendrick Lamar featuring Drake|
|from the album Good Kid m.A.A.d City|
|Released||January 15, 2013|
|Kendrick Lamar singles chronology|
|Drake singles chronology|
"Poetic Justice" is a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar, from his major-label debut studio album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012). The song, produced by American record producer Scoop DeVille, features a verse from Canadian rapper Drake. The song was released as the album's fourth official single, due to its positive response.
The song was produced by Scoop DeVille, who Lamar had previously worked with on his debut single "The Recipe". DeVille sampled Janet Jackson's "Any Time, Any Place." Lamar and DeVille chose to sample the record after it came on the radio during their studio session. In an interview, DeVille recalled several artists wanting the song, including American rapper 50 Cent, before he ended up giving it to Lamar. On January 26, 2013, Lamar performed the song on Saturday Night Live, as well as his previous single "Swimming Pools (Drank)."
In a December 2012 interview, Lamar stated that the music video would be filmed "soon." Although he expressed interest in having the legendary Janet Jackson herself, who starred in the 1993 film from which the song takes its name, to appear in the video, she did not make an appearance.
The song garnered critical acclaim. Reviews complimented the performances of both rappers, but most of the praise went out to the sampling of Janet Jackson's hit "Any Time, Any Place". The Irish Times complimented it as one of the best tracks from Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. MTV called the song "flawless" and one of the most anticipated collaborations of the album.
“Poetic Justice” is also infamous as a “false empowerment anthem” for East African Girls due to Drake's arguably fetishistic feature. He raps:
Young East African Girl, you too busy fucking with your other man/I was trying to put you on game, put you on a plane/ Take you and your mama to the motherland/ I could do it, maybe one day / When you figure out you're gonna need someone/ When you figure out it's all right here in the city/ And you don't run from where we come from…
These lyrics invoke a faceless girl whose tokenization fits an overall trend of over-representation of East African women as emblems of acceptable Black beauty. As Farah writes, this over-representation indicates “a system that marginalizes and limits other forms of aesthetic blackness… [r]einscribing white beauty through black beauty” (ibid). This rap practice of “referenc[ing] East African Girls like [they’re] the 49th Law of Power, predictably denigrating black women who lack acceptable blackness in the same tired ways” is also found in songs such as: Nas’ “The Set Up” and “Summer,” Wale's “No One Be Like You” and “Hold Yuh Remix,” Tinie Tempeh's remix of Drake's “The Motto,” Common's “Celebrate,” and Drake's “Where To Now” (ibid).
The song debuted at #76 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the album's first week on sale. It has peaked at number 26 as of March 7, 2013. It also charted at #8 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and at #6 on Hot Rap Songs. On May 9, 2013, the song was certified Gold by the RIAA.
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000|
sales+streaming figures based on certification alone
|United States||October 22, 2012||Rhythmic radio|
|April 16, 2013||Mainstream radio|
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- "Kendrick Lamar Wants Janet Jackson To Appear In "Poetic Justice" Video". HipHop DX. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- Battan, Carrie (22 February 2013). "Watch: Kendrick Lamar and Drake Star in a Story of Love and Murder in the Video for "Poetic Justice"". PitchforkMedia. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
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- Carroll, Jim (November 2, 2012). "Kendrick Lamar". The Irish Times. Dublin. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- "Kendrick Lamar And Drake Link Up On ‘Poetic Justice’". Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Farah, Safy-Hallan (3 April 2013). "Poetic Justice: Drake and East African Girls". The Feminist Wire.
- "New Music: Busta Rhymes f/ Q-Tip – 'Poetic Justice (Remix)'". Rap Up. December 21, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
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- "Ultratop.be – Kendrick Lamar – Poetic Justice" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
- "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
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- "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
- "2013 Year End Charts — R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- "2013 Year End Charts — Rap Songs". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- "Rhythmic Songs – Year-End 2013". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- "American single certifications – Kendrick Lamar – Poetic Justice". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 13, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.
- "Top 40/Rhythmic-Crossover". All Access Music Group. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- "CHR – Available for Airplay Archive". FMQB. Retrieved October 5, 2013.