In this work the discussion is going to focus on a hip hop video by one of the greatest MCs in the industry by the stage name of NAS born Nasir Jones, Nas released the song in 16th April 2002. The song was released by the Columbia records and the distribution is done by III Will Records based in the United States.
The song is the third single in his Album Stillmatic, the Fifth album (Richard 44). When he was a teenager, Nas is believed to have enlisted his close pal and neighbor as his DJ. Nas was initially known during in his early age as Kid wave before he adopted his recent alias name of nasty Nas.
His first appearance was in 1991 where he performed on the main source where he was doing live performance at the barbeque. This is where Nas established himself as a teenage sensational with his performances. In the mid 1992 MC Serch is believed to have approached and secured a contract for Nas with the famous Columbia records where he also acted as his manager in that same year.
Nas first debut solo single was under his name of Nasty Nas that was part of the single halftime that was done by Serch `s sound track that was for the film zebra head. Nas was also featured in Serch solo album and Nas appearance on the back to the Grill again helped in intensifying the interest in Nas. It was during his early appearances in these albums that led to the hailing of his rhyming mastermind skills attracted the attention from the members of the hip hop fraternity.
One of the deadliest tracks so far by Nas is believed to his single going by the title of the One Mic. This song is believed to have brought in a different dimension to the hip hop culture and believes. The presentation of the message is just unbelievable.
The production was handled by the renowned Hip-hop producer Chucky Thompson and Nas. The song features production procedure that encompassed a quite harmony that progressively increases in intensity and energy until an increasingly amped Nas lets out his lyrical anger bubble over like a final dream combatant strike once too often (Covach 6).
The writer of the song is Nick Butler and he describes the song`s structure as a slow build up from simple scrip to the full production. The composition is a bit interesting in such a way that the song is like two mini hip-hop versions that would be clear when Nas gets to the third verse of the script where he does the same thing in reverse (Walker 11). The final verse is also seen reversing the formula where Nas starts from the louder to soft spoken thus getting the audience closer to his rapping and the lyrics.
The song is unique; its starting is slow with evident deliberate flow and beats. The slow beat that the song starts with is suggestive of a crappy R&B song, as the song progresses, Nas sluggish flow turns out into an angry seethes over the fast-paced beat and lastly the siren. The song literally crescendos’ till Nas is seen to be kind almost screaming over the cleverly elaborated track.
“One Mic” is seen by many as being socially excellent and honest. The lyrics are seen to be aimed at neutralizing the toxic effects caused by the earlier release “You owe Me” which almost destroyed his career. The lyrics of the song describes Nas`s evident urge for simple life. As evident in the lines, “Only if I had one gun, one girl, and one crib…One God to show me how to do things his son did…”( Milliman 7) .
He also discusses the obstacles that he encounters in his quest for a simple life and he clearly proclaims the kind of life he desires. Nas offers a vivid big picture of what that lifestyle will entail; this is seen in the lyrical flow that is captured in the following line, “[if] One ni**ga front, my face on the front page… All I need is one Mic – fuck the cars, the jewelry…” the souvenir motivation the video has been used to maximize the resultant visual flair in the song
The components of dystopian and political awareness are well captured in the lyrics (Milliman 94). If closely observe the video, the “One Mic” brings out the metropolitan claustrophobia that is kind of digitized and well distilled where Nas`s posture of the eyes is seen zooming in for the details and then making a pull back to the panoramic overview.
The lyrical scheme is seen to be building on to the crescendo slowly where the rage and declaration is attained before coming back to seek the path of making the difference with the use of the one precious mic (Everett 16, 77-79). The song can be seen to be calling for immediate action and sense of reality being emitted by the artist.
In his on interview with the rolling stone magazine, Nas stated that the theme of the song “One Mic” is about the power. The song was an avenue for the artist to share with the whole world what is going on in his neighborhood and counts it a blessing to be able to share his experience and let the outside world relate with it. This song as mechanism to clean up any mishaps Nas might have created in his earlier releases was aimed making people turn around, pay attention to what he is saying, and possibly take him seriously.
He aimed at refuting and the notion that he was talking nonsense but he wanted to bring out the reality that majority of the people are facing whereas there has been no formal avenue for the world to really getting to understand the predicament of the people in his neighborhood(Covach and Boone 23, 77, 134). We also see the bringing out the concept of being insane when people or he is upset. The artists sees this as the evidence of people`s ignorance or the just luck of interest to understand the truth or reality in the matter.
The artist is generally presenting facts as they are and he really does not care about those that are scared or guilty of what is happening, the artist generally did not sugar coat his words but since he has his mic let those uncomfortable with what he is saying react using theirs. In the song Nas is asking God for forgiveness for the sins he has committed, the song has some strong religious overtones and lyrical themes that are mostly Christian (Frith 21).
Nas `s allusions generally humanize Jesus brings out the direct parallels between our personal desires and those of the way shower. Nas is asking God to show him the way to do things that His son did. Nas relate the daily challenges faced in day-to-day routines of life with the pressure that Jesus and others felt and we see here an attempt to show the transfer of spiritual gifts and power to himself.
Covach, John and Boone, Graham. Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Covach, John. Form in Rock Music: A Primer. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Everett, Walter. Rock Music: Critical Essays on Composition, Performance, Analysis, and Reception. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Frith, Simon. “Functions of music in everyday life: an exploratory study using the Experience Sampling Method,” Musicae Scientiae, 2007, 5.1, 9-32.
Middleton, Richard. Key Terms in Popular Music and Culture. Massachusetts, MA: Wiley-Black-Well,1999.
Milliman, Ronald. “Using background music to affect the behavior of supermarket shoppers,” Journal of Marketing, 1986, 46. 3, 86-91.
Walker, Micheal. “Backward messages in commercially available recordings,” Popular Music and Society, 2005, 10.1, 2-13.