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Nas and a band studded with Jack White on the keys perform ‘One Mic’ for BBC Music; Photo: BBC Music/YouTube


The original recording of Nas‘ “One Mic” from his 2001 album Stillmatic samples Phil Collins‘ “In The Air Tonight.” But in a recent re-imagining of the song, the rapper and Jack White play an acoustic rendition for BBC.

When Nas first recorded the song, he was in the middle of a beef with fellow rapper Jay-Z, making the track one of his most impassioned. Now, coming full-circle, which is how Nas describes everything in life, he performed a new version yet with almost the same level of emotion.

Nas and White sat down in the BBC studios with a piano, an upright bass, a drummer, and (of course) one mic. You can feel the feelings as he spits:

All I need is one mic, one beat, one stage
One n****r front, my face on the front page
Only if I had one gun, one girl and one crib
One God to show me how to do things his son did

White, who has seemed to make it a mission of sorts with his label Third Man Records to take on projects like this, is in his element here, not shy about showing off his bluesy piano skills, melding with the bassist and drummer to create a smooth acoustic version.

Nas and White have worked together before, collaborating for a cover of Memphis Jug Band’s 1928 tune “On The Road Again” for The American Epic Sessions, a documentary celebrating the history and birth of modern American music. In Nas’ version, he put his own spin on the lyrics, rapping in verse one:

I wouldn’t marry a black woman here’s the reason why
(Why)
Black women’s evil, do things on the sly
(No)
You look for your supper to be good and hot
(Hot)
She never put the neck bone in the pot

Both the rapper and the rocker are staying busy with their own endeavors. This fall, Nas will be co-touring with singer Lauryn Hill in North America, and he’s been hinting a new album is in the works. And White is releasing a children’s book called We’re Going To Be Friends based on The White Stripes‘ song of the same name.

Below, you can watch the full performance on BBC plus listen to Nas and White’s version of “On the Road Again.”