When Nas recorded “One Mic” for his 2001 album, Stillmatic, the Queensbridge rapper was embroiled in a vicious beef with Jay Z. As a result, it became one of the most passionate tracks he’s ever released. Fast forward to over 15 years later, and he sounds just as lively performing it with the backing of Jack White on piano.
The duo recorded the song for a film called The American Epic Sessions, executive-produced by White, T Bone Burnett, and Robert Redford, and the results are tremendous. Whereas the original sampled Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” to build up from the calm chorus to the rising verses, this arrangement combines White’s talents on the piano with the accompaniment of an upright bass and Carla Azar on percussion to accomplish a similar effect.
Nas and White previously covered Memphis Jug Band’s 1928 single “On The Road Again” for The American Epic Sessions, part of an ambitious project that also includes a three-part documentary and collection of recordings.
This fall, Nas is set to embark on a co-headlining North American tour with Lauryn Hill. He’s also been teasing a new album, which appears to be a constant work in progress. White recently added children’s book author to his long list of accomplishments with the scheduled November release of We’re Going To Be Friends.