Saturday Focus – Nas _Top 10 Songs

Aight, maybe not of all time, and he has so many songs you cant even make a damn list. I was able to compress 9 albums into 10 really good songs… damn this wasnt easy at all.

#10)Halftime – Illmatic – Number 10 on your list is halftime. This is hands down Nas’ most energetic song from start to finish. He kicks the braggacidio raps that leave your jaw dropped. “You couldnt catch me in the streets without a ton of reefer thats like malcolm x catchin the jungle fever”


Single by Nasty Nas

from the album Zebrahead and


Released – October 13, 1992
Format12″ single
Recorded – 1992
Genre – Hip hop
Length – 4:44
Label – Columbia
Writer(s)Nasir Jones
W.P. Mitchell
Producer – Large Professor

Nas singles chronology
(1992)”It Ain’t Hard to Tell”
Illmatic track listing
“The World Is Yours”
(5)”Memory Lane (Sittin’ in da Park)”

“Halftime” is the 1992 debut single by American rapper Nas, released under his original moniker of “Nasty Nas”. It was originally recorded for the Zebrahead soundtrack album, released October 13, 1992, on Ruffhouse Records.[1] “Halftime” was produced by Large Professor and features samples from “Schoolboy Crush” by Average White Band, “Hawaiian Sophie” by Jaz-O, “Soul Traveling” by Gary Byrd, and “Dead End” by Japanese Hair. The song was later included on Nas’ influential 1994 debut album, Illmatic.


“Halftime” features an up-tempo beat led by percussion and trumpets over which Nas rhymes. Memorable lines include “You couldn’t catch me in the streets without a ton of reefer/That’s like Malcolm X, catchin’ the Jungle Fever” and “I’m as ill as a convict who kills for phone time.” [2] Nas also uses this song to give a “shout-outs” to Ill Will Records, and the Queensbridge Crew, a reference to the Queensbridge housing projects in Queens, NY, USA. He also reveals he’s a fan of Marcus Garvey, the Jackson 5 and Mr. Magic.[3]


The inclusion of “Halftime” to the Zebrahead soundtrack by MC Serch led to Nas’s breakthrough as a rapper, as a record deal with Columbia Records and the release of his debut album, Illmatic (1994), followed.[4][5] According to Vibe magazine, the song “created a niche that only Illmatic could fill”.[6]


Lyrics from “Halftime” are sampled in these songs:

“Exercise” by Akinyele
“Rugged Ruff” by Bahamadia
“We Got It Hemmed” by Cella Dwellas
“Down for the Kaz” by Kazi
“I Will Always Love H.E.R.” by Peanut Butter Wolf
“Strike Back” by Army of the Pharaohs
“Vengeance” by East Coast Avengers
“Am I Dope Or What” by Vakill
“Furam Obleku” by Target of Tram 11
“Crazy Like a Foxxx (D.I.T.C. Version)” by Bumpy Knuckles
Track listing
“Halftime” (Radio Edit) (4:19)
“Halftime” (LP Version) (4:19)
“Halftime” (LP Version Instrumental) (4:19)
“Halftime” (Butcher Remix) DJ Bubie (4:41)
“Halftime” (Butcher Instrumental) (4:42

#9)Streets Disciple – Streets Disciple – I try to include at least one song from every album, although one album of course isn’t included (I’ll let you guess). Streets Disciple kind of lived up to the hype, I wouldn’t say all the way but it could be the second greatest double disc CD of all time. Thats great to say considering this album hasn’t even been alive for a year, it could have been better, some songs were fillers but it was still above average. Nas proving “you couldn’t come close on my worst day” with this album. Aight, now…this is one of the best lyrically put songs on this album, the beat is right too and a subliminal diss to Cam’Ron keeps you listening to this song all day “crack baby turnin young thug description might fit you look around it might hit you no joke i wanna pistol fight witchu shit comes around faster than you think blood and white chalk make pink so whats that make you” ROFLMAO.

#8)Purple – The Lost Tapes – What album was this song supposed to be on? And why did it not make it there? This song is an instant classic from the moment you first listen to it, absolutely flawless, no need for explaining just read the damn lyrics. The second verse of this song has to be put in the top 10 verses of all time by any rapper.

#7)One Love – Illmatic – People say who’s the better storyteller Nas or Slick Rick? anybody with a brain would say slick rick, but if you had to judge between just two songs, one love and children’s story, what would you take? With that said for the next 5 minutes Nas is the best storyteller ever. This song is packed with subliminal disses to cormega, they were even cool at the time!!! lol this is hands down one of the finest stories told on a track. This song would be higher on the list, but once again Nas has so many classics its hard to decide which goes where “wildin on an island but now with elmyra better chill cause them niggas will put that ass on fire”

“One Love”

Single by Nas featuring Q-Tip
from the album Illmatic

Released – October 25, 1994
Format12″ single
Recorded – 1992
Genre – Hip hop
Length – 5:25
Label – Columbia
Writer(s)Nasir Jones, Jonathan Davis, Jimmy Heath

Nas chronology

“Life’s a Bitch”

(1994)”One Love”
(1994)”If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)”
Illmatic track listing
“Memory Lane (Sittin’ in da Park)”
(6)”One Love”
(7)”One Time 4 Your Mind”

“One Love” is a song by American hip hop rapper Nas, released October 25, 1994 on Columbia Records. It was issued as the fifth and final radio single in promotion of his debut studio album Illmatic (1994). The song was produced by Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, who also contributed vocals for the chorus line. According to Nas, the title of the song originates from Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician Bob Marley’s song of the same name.

“One Love” is composed as a series of letters by Nas to his incarcerated friends, describing events that have occurred prior to and after the receivers’ imprisonment. “One Love” contains samples of the Heath Brothers’ “Smilin’ Billy Suite Part II” (1975) and Parliament’s “Come In Out the Rain” (1970). In the song’s first verse, Nas references fellow Queensbridge emcee Cormega, whose rapping career had been put on hold due to his incarceration during the early 1990s. In 2008, VH1 named “One Love” the forty-eighth greatest hip hop song.[1]

Produced by Q-Tip, “One Love” samples the double bass and piano from the Heath Brothers’ “Smilin’ Billy Suite Part II” (1975) and contains a drum break from Parliament’s “Come In Out the Rain” (1970), which add to the song’s mystical and hypnotic soundscape.[2]

Lyrically, “One Love” is composed of a series of letters by Nas to incarcerated friends,[3] recounting mutual acquaintances and events that have occurred since the receiver’s imprisonment,[4] including unfaithful girlfriends, emotionally-tortured mothers and underdog loyalty.[5] According to one writer, the phrase “one love” represents street loyalty in the song.[6] Nas later explained that the title of the song originated from Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley’s song of the same name, which, according to writer Mickey Hess, “echoed the ubiquitous street salutation ‘one’ (similar to ‘peace’) used around Nas’s neighborhood.”[3] In a 1994 article on the distinct styles of East Coast and West Coast hip hop, music journalist Touré referred to “One Love” as an example of the thematic differences between the two regional scenes, stating:

The more ambitious themes of New Yorkers’ rhymes over those of their L.A. counterparts can be traced to the original intention of hip-hop in each city: Many L.A. rappers embraced the drug culture, while those in New York tended to use hip-hop as an avenue of escape from it … In ‘One Love’, Nas echoes that perspective, rapping about his own temporary getaway: ‘So I be ghost from my projects/ I take my pen and pad for the weekend/ A two-day stay/ You may say/ I needed time alone/ To relax my dome/ No phone/ Left the nine at home.'[7]
Among those referenced in the song was fellow Queensbridge-based rapper Cormega (“And night time is more trife than ever/What up with Cormega, did you see him, are y’all together?”).[8] Cormega’s rapping career had been put on hold due to his incarceration during the early 1990s, before his release in 1995.[8] After delivering “shout-outs to locked down comrades”, Nas chastizes a youth who seems destined for prison in the final verse, “Shorty’s laugh was cold blooded as he spoke so foul/Only twelve tryin to tell me that he liked my style … Words of wisdom from Nas, try to rise up above/Keep a eye out for Jake, shorty-wop, one love”.[9] Music writer Mickey Hess wrote that “the literary technique Nas most strongly excels in is the one that would seem to be most pedestrian: rhyme”, and cited “One Love” as the first display of Nas’s “formal inventiveness”.[3] The song’s lyrical structure has been compared to that of American rapper Eminem’s “Stan” (2000).[3]

From artist:

Q-Tip used to come and hang out with me in my projects from time to time. I remember him coming out there and hanging out, and I remember him letting me hang out at his session when he was working on Midnight Marauders. I thought he was just the most incredible, so to have him producing my album, for him to even do the chorus for me is a blessing. The song just came from life, it’s a song about letters to prison inmates, friends of mine, shout-outs to childhood friends and their uncles and people who were like family to me. I was, again, too young to be going through all of that. That’s what I think about when I hear that album. I was too young to be going through all of that.[10]

Track listing

“One Love” (Album Version) (5:23)
“One Love” (Radio Edit) (5:23)
“One Love” (Album Instrumental) (5:23)
“One Love” (Acappella) (5:21)
“One Love” (LG Main Mix) (5:33)
Produced by The LG Experience
“One Love” (LG Radio Edit) (4:29)
“One Love” (LG Instrumental) (2:06)
“One Love” (One L Main Mix) (5:43)
Produced by Godfather Don and Victor Padilla
“One Love” (One L Radio Edit) (4:48)
“One Love” (One L Instrumental) (1:55)

Chart (1994)Peak position[11]
US Hot Rap Tracks24
US Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales6

#6)N.Y State Of Mind Part 1 – Illmatic – Instant classic, no need for explanations, every hip hop fan in America has heard this song, I hope. Go back to your jessica simpson albums if you haven’t.

“N.Y. State of Mind”

Song by Nas from the album Illmatic

Released – April 19, 1994
Genre – East Coast hip hop, hardcore hip hop
Length – 4:54
Label – Columbia Records
WriterNasir Jones, Chris Martin
Producer – DJ Premier

Illmatic track listing
“The Genesis”
(1)”N.Y. State of Mind”
(2)”Life’s a Bitch”

“N.Y. State of Mind” is a song by American hip hop recording artist Nas, taken from his debut studio album Illmatic (1994). The song’s production was handled by DJ Premier who sampled two jazz songs: “Mind Rain” by Joe Chambers and “Flight Time” by Donald Byrd.[1][2] Premier additionally scratches vocals from Eric B. & Rakim’s “Mahogany” for the song’s chorus.[3] Nas raps two verses on the song in which he talks about his rapping talent and describes the dangerous environment that is the city of New York. Nas has attributed the song “Streets of New York” by Kool G Rap as one of the song’s primary influences (Kool G Rap would later sample this song, plus give Nas a guest spot on his album 4,5,6). A sequel to “N.Y. State of Mind” can be found on Nas’ 1999 album I Am…. An early version of the song can be found on Nas’ demo tape under the name “I’m a Villain.”[citation needed] It was rumored that a track entitled “N.Y. State Of Mind Pt. III” was scheueled to be released in an Nas’s upcoming album “The Lost Tapes 2”, but it is unknown if this is true.

Critical acclaim

“N.Y. State of Mind” ranks #74 on’s Top 100 Rap Songs.[4]

Rolling Stone magazine placed the song on its list of “The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time.”[5]

Marc L. Hill of PopMatters describes “N.Y. State of Mind” as a standout track on Illmatic claiming that it “provides as clear a depiction of ghetto life as a Gordon Parks photograph or a Langston Hughes poem.”[6] The song is also one of a few rap songs to be featured in the Norton Anthology of African American Literature.[7] It is featured on Nas’ 2007 greatest hits album as the only non-single song in the album, and on the 1999 compilation Best of D&D Studios, Vol. 1. Steve ‘Flash’ Juon of states:

“”[Illmatic] was to be an album steeped in the rich traditions of hip-hop history, mixed with the most advanced verbal styles and fat beats that could be put on wax. And if it couldn’t be set off any more right already, the DJ Premier produced “N.Y. State of Mind” was designed to knock you right off your feet. Primo’s knack for finding the illest piano loops and matching them to pounding beats was perfected in this track, and paired with a Rakim sample on the chorus that provided the mental link for an analogy most rap heads had already made by now: Nas was the NEW Rakim on the block.[8]”
The song is included on the soundtrack of video games True Crime: New York City and Saints Row 2.[citation needed]

Lyrics from “N.Y. State of Mind” are

sampled on these songs:

“The Message” by Nas
“N.Y. State of Mind Pt. II” by Nas
“Interlude” by Different Teep
“Beyond Real” by Jigmastas
“4, 5, 6” by Kool G Rap
“Mission One (Intro)” by Fanatik & Peanut Butter Wolf
“Force the Resistance” by Task Force
“Monkey See, Monkey Do” by Sonic Boom Six
“Hip Hop State Of Mind” by Israel The ILLa Real
“Boombox” by Blueprint
“Beyond” by Dj JS-1 Feat. O.C.
“New York New York” by LL Cool J
“Sneakers” by Raekwon
“Detroit State of Mind” by Elzhi
“Streets of New York (City Life)” by Alicia Keys, Nas, and Rakim

#5)Nas Is Like – I Am – N-n-n-n-n-n-n-nas is like! The first line of this song put it down into greatness. When you hear this song on the I Am album you think “NASTY NAS IS BACK!” unfortunately 60% of this album was disappointing. Of course this song saved it though, this song takes you back to the 1994 days where Nas was spittin that real shit, and lets not forget … another beat by primo gets the job done. “Freedom or jail clips inserted a baby’s being born same time a man is murdered the beginning and end as far as rap go its only natural i explain my plateu and also what defines my name”

“Nas Is Like”

Single by Nas
from the album I Am…

Released – March 2, 1999
Format – CD single
Recorded – 1998
Genre – East Coast hip hop
Length – 3:57
Label – Columbia
Producer – DJ Premier

Nas singles chronology
“Escobar ’97”
(1997)”Nas Is Like”
(1999)”Hate Me Now”

“Nas Is Like” is the first single from Nas’ third album I Am…. The song is the sixth collaboration between Nas and producer DJ Premier. It was critically well received as it was a change from the more commercial and pop-oriented singles from It Was Written and Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present The Firm: The Album. The song contains a combination of braggadocios and introspective lyrics over a choppy string sample.

The lyrical presence of Nas was clearly evident from the first lines: “Freedom or jail, clips inserted,/ a baby’s bein’ born Same time my man is murdered,/ the beginning and end”
In the third verse of the song, Nas uses similes to describe his prowess. These include: “I’m like a whole lot of loot, I’m like crisp money / Corporate accounts from a rich company / I’m like ecstasy for ladies, I’m like all races / combined in one man; like the ’99 summer jam.”

In the 14 Deadly Secrets by DJ Premier,[1] Primo said:

“This shit is crazy : the day I made this record, I was at my house in Long Island, and I found this old record that I was gonna throw away. It was a ten inch record from a Lutheran church, and it was pink with a black fish on it. And I was gonna throw it in the garbage, ‘cuz it didn’t look like it had anything hot on it. But somethin’ told me “before you throw it away, put it on the turntable, see if you can find something on it”.
And I found that sample of “Nas Is Like”, and I broke it into 3 parts, scratched it live to the drumbeat that I already had, with the little chirpin’ birds and from there, “Nas Is Like” was born, man…

The song is also notable for featuring one of the most sought-after samples by cratediggers. For almost a decade since the track’s release, the main sample used by DJ Premier remained unknown. However, April 2008 an unnamed MP3 file featuring the original sample used was uploaded to the Internet by Dusty Kid from Strictly Breaks. Right after, the sample was identified as “Cantata of New Life” by John Rydgren. However, it was later revealed that the track was actually John Rydgren and Bob R. Way’s 1966 song “What Child Is This?”,[2] from their record Thoughts on the Carols.

Other than this, the song also contains scratched vocal samples from Nas’ previous songs “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” from 1994 and “Street Dreams” from 1996. The song also samples bird chirps from Don Robertson’s “Why” and a vocal sample from Biz Markie’s “Nobody Beats the Biz”.

Music video
The song’s music video directed by Nick Quested shows Nas rapping in the Queensbridge projects and features cameo’s by NBA player Ron Artest and fellow Queensbridge rappers Nature and The Bravehearts

Reception and Influence
“Nas Is Like” was positively received on a commercial and critical level. It reached number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 14 on the Canadian Singles Chart and peaked at number 3 on the Rap songs chart.[3] M.F. DiBella of Allmusic justifies the success of “Nas Is Like” stating: “Superproducer Premier comes to save the day…[“Nas Is Like” is] nothing short of Illmatic perfection. “Nas Is Like”‘s symphonic composition is the perfect complement for an MC of Nas’ supreme vocal quality and precise lyrics.”[4]

The song’s popularity caused various songs to borrow “Nas Is Like”‘s beat, structure and lyrics:

During his brief feud with Nas, Memphis Bleek recorded a song named “Memphis Bleek Is…” which stylistically mimicked “Nas Is Like”.
On Royce da 5’9″‘s 2007 mixtape The Bar Exam, he freestyles over the “Nas Is Like” instrumental and forms a song with a similar structure.
Lyrics from “Nas Is Like” were later sampled in Braille and Rob Swift’s 2008 song “The IV”.
West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar made a freestyle to this song in January 2013 on Hot97.[5]
J.Cole uses the first part of Nas Is Like for the intro of Let Nas Down.

Track listing

“Nas Is Like” (Main) (3:50)
“Nas Is Like” (Clean) (3:57)
“Nas Is Like” (Instrumental) (3:57)
“Dr. Knockboots” (Main) (2:25)
Produced by Poke & Tone
“Dr. Knockboots” (Clean) (2:25)
“Dr. Knockboots” (Instrumental) (2:25)
Chart (1999) [3]Peak
Canadian Singles Chart14
U.S. Billboard Hot 10086
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks30
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Singles3

#4)I Gave You Power – It Was Written – …aight, its official, Nas can do ANYTHING!!!!, not only is this song a story … its a fucking metaphor!!!! The whole song he spits from the perspective of a handgun, not himself… a handgun. Nas is the gun and he’s talking about the life a gun goes through. I heard songs where other rappers narrorate through other people… but a gun? come on, thats talent right there. another great beat by primo. “beat up and battered they pull me out I watched these niggas scatter makin me kill but what I feel it never mattered”

#3)Life’s A Bitch – Illmatic – Life’s a bitch and then ya die! AZ! no not jay-z bitch AZ. One of the most lyrically gifted rappers ever, if you never heard of AZ, quick run to best buy or fye and purchase “Doe Or Die” AZ blesses us and teaches us about flow with one of the greatest verses ever.”visualizin the realism of life and actuality fuck who’s the baddest a person’s status depends on salary” Of course Nas follows up with another great verse probably more lyrical than AZ’s but AZ just blew us away with this won so of course he outshined him. “i switched my motta instead of sayin fuck tomorrow that buck that bought a bottle coulda struck the lotto”

#2)One Mic – Stillmatic –

Many consider this song to be the resurrection of Nas, you know after the horrendus Nastradamus album, the lyrical slaughtering of rapper Jay-Z, Nas is back right? … Wrong … Nas never left, in fact he had this in him all along, with a song like this … even jay-z fans I know like this song. Whats there not the like? the calm/energetic switched flow makes this song all much enjoyable to listen to. “they dont understand dont wanna see me on top too egotistical talkin all that slick shit the same way these bitches do”

“One Mic”

Single by Nas
from the album Stillmatic

Released – April 16, 2002
Format – Maxi-single, 12″ vinyl
Recorded – 2001
Genre – Hip hop
Length – 4:28
LabelIll Will, Columbia
Writer(s)Nasir Jones, Chucky Thompson
Producer – Nasir Jones, Chucky Thompson

Nas singles chronology
“Got Ur Self A…”
(2001)”One Mic”
(2002)”Made You Look”

“One Mic” is a song by American hip hop rapper Nas, released April 16, 2002 on Columbia Records and distributed through Ill Will Records in the United States. It was issued as the third single from his fifth studio album, Stillmatic (2001). The song samples a portion of Phil Collins’s “In The Air Tonight”. The single peaked at number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Nas’s third top-fifty hit on the chart.

Musical style
Production for “One Mic” was handled by Nas and hip hop producer Chucky Thompson.[1] The song samples English musician Phil Collins’s “In the Air Tonight” (1981). On selecting the sample for “One Mic”, Nas stated “I’m a huge fan of Phil Collins and I just wanted to take the vibe from ‘In the Air Tonight’.”[2] Steve Juon of RapReviews wrote that the song features a production technique previously implemented by such hip hop artists as Outkast and The Roots, which he described as “a quiet groove that steadily increases in energy and intensity until an increasingly amped Nas lets his lyrical rage boil over like a Final Fantasy fighter smacked ONCE too often.”[1] Music writer Nick Butler described the song’s structure as “slowly building up from a simple ‘In the Air Tonight’ sample toward the full production … like hearing two mini hip-hop versions of ‘Stairway to Heaven’, before Nas flips the script for the third verse and does the same thing in reverse.”[3]

According to Juon, the final verse has a reversal of this formula, in which Nas “goes from amped up to soft-spoken, drawing you even closer into his rap.”[1] “One Mic” begins with a slow, deliberate flow and beat.[4] Music critic Brett Berliner wrote “‘One Mic’ starts out with a slow beat reminiscent of a crappy R&B song. Throughout the song, Nas’ lazy flow turns into an angry rant over a fast paced beat, and finally a siren.”[5] According to Mark L. Hill of PopMatters, the song “crescendos until Nas is nearly screaming over the subtly elaborate track.”[4]

Lyrical content
The lyrics of “One Mic” discuss Nas’s desire for a simple life (“Only if I had one gun, one girl, and one crib/One God to show me how to do things his son did”) and obstacles that prevent it (“[if] One ni**ga front, my face on the front page”),[4] and a lifestyle in which Nas proclaims “All I need is one mic – fuck the cars, the jewelry”.[1] It has been noted by music writers for its political consciousness and dystopian themes.[6][7] Keith Harris of City Pages described the lyrical structure of “One Mic” as “urban claustrophobia distilled and digitized, with Nas’s reportorial eye zooming in on a detail, then pulling back to a panoramic overview.”[8] One writer described the song’s lyrical scheme as “building slowly to a crescendo of declaration and rage, then coming back, to seek a way to make a difference, with that precious one mic.”[9] Del F. Cowie of Exclaim! described Nas’s narrative in the song as “Memento-inspired … with typical visual flair.”[6] One music writer wrote that the lyrics “emit a sense of reality and call to action.”[10]

In an interview for Rolling Stone, Nas discussed the theme of the song, stating “‘One Mic’ is just about the power. It’s almost like Hip Hop is Dead in its infant stages, saying how much this is a blessing to be out here, speaking about what’s happening in my neighborhood, having the whole world understand and relate.”[2] He also referred to commentator Bill O’Reilly’s criticism of “Shoot ‘Em Up”, a song from Nas’s fourth album Nastradamus (1999), as he stated “If I didn’t have a microphone, I could never talk about ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’, and I was talking about Queens, New York, being shot up. What do I have to do to get somebody to turn around and hear what I’m saying and take it serious? I’m not here just to be in your face talking nonsense, we’re talking about reality. For him to be upset or people like him to be upset is insane to me. It just shows how ignorant people are.”[2] In the interview, Nas continued to discuss his inspiration and the song’s lyrical theme, stating:

‘One Mic’ just gives me the ability, no matter how much ignorant people are mad that I’m exposing or talking about our country, no matter what the language is, I’m talking in a language that the people can hear, I’m not sugar-coating it. So if it scares people and people feel guilty, people feel like they’ve got to make up excuses to why the world’s this way, no matter what they say, like they’ve got their mic, I’ve got mine, and that’s what that song’s about.[2]
In the song, Nas also asks God to forgive him for his sins.[11] In the hip hop book Beats, Rhymes & Life (2007), music writer Ytasha Womack compared Nas’s lyrics on “One Mic” to the work of rapper Tupac Shakur, analyzing it as a song with strong religious, Christian overtones and lyrical themes.[12] Womack wrote that “Nas’s references ultimately humanized Jesus, with attempts to show direct parallels between our quest and that of the Wayshower.”[12] Womack concluded with analyzing the incorporation of religious themes by Nas in his composition, stating “Nas clung to spiritual questioning, expressing a desire to be like the early mystics, in order to possess their knowledge and powers. While he expresses that he has the potential of the greats, in ‘One Mic’ he asks God to show him how to do things his son did. Nas intertwined his day–to–day life and decisions with the pressures felt by Jesus and others, doing so almost as a means to somehow transfer their spiritual gifts to himself.”[12]

Release and reception
The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on April 20, 2002, debuting at number 79.[13] It peaked on the Hot 100 at number 43.[14] On June 8, 2002, “One Mic” made its debut on the Hot Rap Tracks chart at number 9, before eventually peaking at number 7.[15] The single peaked on the Hot Rap Singles at number 23,[16] the Rhythmic Top 40 at number 32, and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart at number 14.[14] A remix of “One Mic”, featuring a sample of Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” (1983), was later released on the remix album From Illmatic to Stillmatic: The Remixes (2002).[17]

Critical response
The song was well received by music critics, some of whom hailed it as a “classic”.[12] Steve Juon of RapReviews lauded the song’s production,[1] while Marc L. Hill cited it as Stillmatic’s “standout track”, and described Nas as “our magnificently human rap god.”[4] Del F. Cowie described “One Mic” as the album’s “centrepiece epic”,[6] and Sputnikmusic’s Nick Butler cited “One Mic” as “the best rap song of this decade”. Butler went on to describe his first listen of the song, stating “This song blew me away on first listen, and it’s still having the same effect now. Not many rap songs can send chills up my spine. This is one of them.”[3] A columnist for MVRemix called “One Mic” a “perfect song”, and also wrote of his first listen of the song, stating “when I first heard this I almost literally blacked out since I did not breathe at all from listening to the whole song the first time. There also have been reports of this song almost causing car accidents, so skip this if you’re driving. And no, I’m not kidding.”[11] Brett Berliner of Stylus Magazine was particularly favorable of the song’s use of a siren, as he called the concept “Truly incredible, and one of the best ideas for a song I’ve ever heard in my life.”[5]

Negative criticism came from Kathryn McGuire of Rolling Stone, as she wrote “The hyperbolic urgency of ‘One Mic’ feels staged.”[18] In spite of this, a columnist for Blender lauded the song’s lyrical detail,[19] and James Poletti of Yahoo! Music cited it as “some of the best hip-hop recorded last year.”[20] A writer for the website BlackPrint described “One Mic” as “soon to be legend … perfect in every way.” The columnist continued to write “This track is simply incredible and will be the measuring stick of every other deep soul searching type of rap joint from here on out.”[10] Steven Potter of the Journal Sentinel called the song a “testament to the lyrical skill only the best emcees possess.”[21]

In retrospect, IGN’s Jon Robinson viewed “One Mic” as a comeback for Nas, writing that it “proved that he was still not only one of the dopest MCs in the world, but possibly the most gifted writer of the rap community.”[22] According to music critic Steve Juon, the song signalled a return for Nas to his early musical roots, stating “you know that the rapper we all once called Nasty Nas has truly returned.”[1] In 2005, the song was ranked number 54 on’s list of the 100 Greatest Rap Songs.[23]

Music video
The music video was directed by Chris Robinson.[9] Robinson stated in an interview with MTV that he had wanted to feature the 1976 Soweto uprising in a video, and had eventually won Nas over to the idea.[24] However, the video’s production ran into difficulties due to the restrictions on travel after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Instead, the scene of the riots was filmed in Los Angeles with participants from a local inner-city baseball team playing the rioters.[24] The scene of the rock being thrown in the direction of the camera was taken over 10 times (the actor “had a bit of a curve on his throwing arm,” according to Robinson) before post-production work managed to complete the desired effect.[24] Robinson also told his director of photography to open and close the shutters of the camera in the apartment scene, creating an effect of blurred streaks of light.[24]

The video begins with a montage of scenes from inner-city areas of New York City, followed by a camera shot of an apartment window in which a light has just been turned on.[25] The video then centralizes upon a view of Nas reflectively rapping with a single microphone in a bare apartment room. While Nas is rapping, the video switches to a scene of a routine police stop of four suspects which quickly escalates to an on-foot chase of the suspects by police as a surprised elder bystander “fiend drops his Heineken” onto the asphalt.[25] The suspects and the police dramatically part around Nas, who is rapping in the middle of the street, as they continue the chase around a corner. As Nas shouts “The Time is Now!”, the scene cuts back to Nas rapping in the barren apartment room with the microphone.[25]

The video transitions to a scene in Soweto at the beginning of the 1976 uprising, in which a protester rallies a crowd of residents against the government while baton-wielding black and white soldiers of the SADF prepare for the impending crackdown on the protesters.[25] Gradually, the scene escalates to violence, with the impetus being a rock thrown in the direction of the camera.[25] Soon, the two sides clash on the dirt road, and Nas pauses to a steady iteration of “One Mic” while standing contrastedly in the middle of the ongoing violence, the scene ending with the silent scream (symbolized by a descending piano) of a little bystanding Soweto girl as the scene cuts back to Nas, in the apartment room, kicking the chair and launching headfirst into a full-blown litany.[25]

The Soweto scene is interpolated with various scenes of young people listening and lip-syncing the lyrics, including a teenager wearing headphones in an apartment bedroom beside her younger sister, a group of Latino men sitting in a car and a young, angry Los Angeles County prisoner behind bars.[25] Gradually, as the camera overlays a view of Nas upon the forward-moving shot of a street, the video then calms down alongside the descending tone of the song, the facial determination of Nas and other participants in the video remaining visible as the video draws to a close with the light in the apartment window turning off.[25]

Released on December 17, 2001,[9] the video received heavy rotation on the music television network MTV.[26]

Track listing

“One Mic” (Explicit) (4:28)
“One Mic” (Clean) (4:32)
“One Mic” (Instrumental) (4:36)
“2nd Childhood” (Explicit) (3:51)
Produced by DJ Premier


Charts (2002)Peak
US Billboard Hot 10043
US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks14
US Billboard Hot Rap Singles10
US Billboard Hot Rap Tracks7

#1)Memory Lane – ………Nuff said.

Artist: Nas
Album: Illmatic
Song: Memory Lane (Sittin’ in Da Park)
Typed by: OHHLA Webmaster DJ Flash

(Check that shit)
Aight fuck that shit, word word
Fuck that other shit, youknowhatI’msayin?
We gon’ do a little somethin like this, yaknahmsayin?
(Is they up on this?)
Keep it on and on and on and on and..
KnowhatI’msayin? Big Nas, Grand Wizard, God what it is?
(What it is like?) Hah, knowhatI’msayin?
Yo go ‘head, do that shit nigga

I rap for listeners, blunt heads, fly ladies and prisoners
Henessey holders and old school niggaz, then I be dissin a
unofficial that smoke woolie thai
I dropped out of Kooley High, gassed up by a cokehead cutie pie
Jungle survivor, fuck who’s the liver
My man put the battery in my back, a differencem from Energizer
Sentence begins indented.. with formality
My duration’s infinite, moneywise or physiology
Poetry, that’s a part of me, retardedly bop
I drop the ancient manifested hip-hop, straight off the block
I reminisce on park jams, my man was shot for his sheep coat
Childhood lesson make me see him drop in my weed smoke
It’s real, grew up in trife life, did times or white lines
The hype vice, murderous nighttimes, and knife fights invite crimes
Chill on the block with Cog-nac, hold strap
with my peeps that’s into drug money, market into rap
No sign of the beast in the blue Chrysler, I guess that means peace
For niggaz no sheisty vice to just snipe ya
Start off the dice-rollin mats for craps to cee-lo
With sidebets, I roll a deuce, nothin below (Peace God!)
Peace God — now the shit is explained
I’m takin niggaz on a trip straight through memory lane
It’s like that y’all .. it’s like that y’all .. it’s like that y’all

Chorus: repeat scratches 4X

“Now let me take a trip down memory lane” -> BizMarkie
“Comin outta Queensbridge”

One for the money
Two for pussy and foreign cars
Three for Alize niggaz deceased or behind bars
I rap divine Gods check the prognosis, is it real or showbiz?
My window faces shootouts, drug overdoses
Live amongst no roses, only the drama, for real
A nickel-plate is my fate, my medicine is the ganja
Here’s my basis, my razor embraces, many faces
Your telephone blowin, black stitches or fat shoelaces
Peoples are petrol, dramatic automatic fo’-fo’ I let blow
and back down po-po when I’m vexed so
my pen taps the paper then my brain’s blank
I see dark streets, hustlin brothers who keep the same rank
Pumpin for somethin, some uprise, plus some fail
Judges hangin niggaz, uncorrect bails, for direct sales
My intellect prevails from a hangin cross with nails
I reinforce the frail, with lyrics that’s real
Word to Christ, a disciple of streets, trifle on beats
I decifer prophecies through a mic and say peace.
I hung around the older crews while they sling smack to dingbats
They spoke of Fat Cat, that nigga’s name made bell rings, black
Some fiends scream, about Supreme Team, a Jamaica Queens thing
Uptown was Alpo, son, heard he was kingpin, yo
Fuck ‘rap is real’, watch the herbs stand still
Never talkin to snakes cause the words of man kill
True in the game, as long as blood is blue in my veins
I pour my Heineken brew to my deceased crew on memory lane


“Comin outta Queensbridge” -> scratched

The most dangerous MC is..
“Comin outta Queensbridge” -> scratched

The most dangerous MC is..
“Comin outta Queensbridge” -> scratched

The most dangerous MC is..
“Comin outta Queensbridge” -> scratched

The most dangerous MC is..
Me numba won, and you know where me from!

I know all you die hard Nas fans are ready to email me threatnening to kill me and shit, but relax man. I did my best with this top 10, you got any questions or concerns you know where to find me. Songs that almost made it on the list: Shootouts, 2nd Childhood, The World Is Yours, N.Y State Of Mind Part 2, Doo Rags.

Red Everything Movement


One thought on “Saturday Focus – Nas _Top 10 Songs”

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