‘Poetic Justice’ – 5 Essential Soundtrack Cuts
‘Poetic Justice’ is a ’90’s film that not only defined a generation but also put a spotlight on the power of language. As the movie highlighted the poetry of Maya Angelou, the John Singleton-directed-and-penned movie became a box office hit — it grossed more than $27 million since its release in 1993.
Sure, it’s safe to say that the film had its fair share of big names including Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Q-Tip and Regina King, but it was also the soundtrack that helped solidify it as a piece of pop culture history.
And now as ‘Poetic Justice’ celebrates its 20th anniversary on July 23, TheDrop.fm pays homage to the film and the music in it by providing you with five essential soundtrack cuts to add on your playlist — if they’re not there already.
Mista Grimm may not necessarily be a household name these days. However, we do remember hearing his track, ‘Indo Smoke,’ in ‘Poetic Justice.’ Not only was it his first single ever, it also did pretty well on the charts — considering it was on a film soundtrack. While Grimm, Warren G and Nate Dogg spit rhymes about getting high on the track — which may not seem like a unique subject — the combination of beats and lyrics made this a hit with fans of the film and hip-hop in general.
Peaking at No. 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the song also made it on four other U.S. charts including R&B/Hip-Hop, Hot Rap Singles, Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales.
‘Get It Up’
Although Minnesota funk band The Time did the original version of the song for their 1981 debut album, TLC put their own spin on the track for the ‘Poetic Justice’ soundtrack. And the cover seemed to be a great decision on the group’s part as it did pretty well on the Billboard charts. ‘Get It Up’ peaked at the No. 42 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 15 on the R&B singles chart. Although it may not have done as well as other songs the trio released, it had its own merits and put the group on the map as definite hitmakers.
‘Call Me a Mack’
He may have only been 15, but Usher already knew how to get women to chase after him with his debut track, ‘Call Me a Mack.’ Full of the same swag and charisma that we see today, Usher sings about his player attitude. And while the whole mindset may be a bit of a turn-off, his adorably cute looks will woo the ladies anyway.
“I maybe kind of young / But I got a whole lot of man in me/ So I’m afraid That I can’t be played (Huh, ha!) / I don’t mind if U wanna come by my crib And chill, / But just be sure That you call me first / Because the last girl that tried to just be droppin’ on by (Oh, no) / Learned how to play a player And do you know why, Because the mack,” he confidently croons.
The track peaked at No. 56 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles list.
‘Definition of a Thug N—-‘
Tupac Shakur was one of the film’s stars, so it’s not too surprising that he also makes an appearance on the soundtrack. Considering his character Lucky has his own personal struggles as well as getting through the day despite his circumstances in the film, it seems fitting that this song is on the tracklist.
“I played the cards I was given, thank God I’m still livin’ / Pack my nine til it’s time to go to prison / As I’m bailin’ down the block that I come from, still gotta pack a gun / Case some young motherf—ers wanna play dumb / I guess I live life forever jugglin’ / But I’ll be hustlin’ til the early mornin’ cause I’m strugglin’,” he delivers.
The song also appeared on Shakur’s posthumous album, ‘R U Still Down? (Remember Me),’ in 1997.
‘Poor Man’s Poetry’
Right after the release of the group’s sophomore LP, ’19 Naughty III,’ Naughty By Nature‘s ‘Poor Man’s Poetry’ released via the ‘Poetic Justice’ soundtrack. With the two protagonists both having a connection to lyrics, poetry and the like, this song just seemed fitting for the the film.
“Automatic system and vinyl cipher kinetics / Microphone intimidation impenetrable phonetics / Lyrical mentality a syndication of style / Prepare to battle on the mic Generation Nesian Child / So what’s your cipher pick up the vibe and turn the lights on / Semantic imagery of audio system we ride on / Let bygones by bygones you know you can rely on / The beat to carry the melody prolifically all night long,” says one verse.
With all its connections to the power of language as well as Naughty By Nature’s growing popularity at the time, this was a key tune on the film’s soundtrack.