“One Mic, One Gun” by Nas & 21 Savage

Nas and 21 Savage recently had a pretty well-publicized beef. This beef started when the latter said some less-than-flattering things about the former. So it would be obvious to listeners with that foreknowledge that this piece (“One Mic, One Gun”) is akin to a peace track. The two emcees illustrate that Savage shooting from the lip has not resulted in any type of serious or long-standing feud.

Verse 1

So in the first verse for instance, what we are met with is 21 backtracking on the afore-referenced remarks that he made. And what he implies in the process is that he never really meant to diss Nas, but rather “the media and blogs” took what he said and went running with it.

Chorus of “One Mic, One Gun”

In the chorus that follows, Nas reveals that at this stage in his career, he is not compelled, as in days past, to get into a “back and forth”, i.e. any type of meaningless tiffs. He also seems to put forward a belief akin to the powers that be intentionally pitting Black artists against each other. 

But beyond that he goes on to give a shoutout to his hometown, Queens, as well as his home state, New York. And basically Jones is being braggadocious, i.e. alluding to the fact that he is a legend in the realm of hip-hop.

Verse 2

And so it is as Nas holds down the second verse. The reason that his relevancy became a topic of debate to begin with is because from an industry perspective, he is not as poppin’ now as he was back in his heyday. 

But the rapper goes on to explain that nonetheless, he is a pioneer in the rap game. Moreover, whereas Nas may not “be mainstream” anymore, he is “timeless”, i.e. subject to permanent A list recognition due to his music career. 

Besides that, in his older years he’s become more of a behind-the-scenes’ businessman, such as having “invested in Ring” Inc., which netted Nas a pretty penny in 2018. Additionally, the vocalist perpetuates the racial theme he established in the chorus by pointing out that a recent robbery that took place at his home, unlike as implied by the media, was actually perpetuated by “two Caucasians”, i.e. White people.

Verse 3

Then in the third verse, 21 Savage continues his humble approach by acknowledging that he has a ways to go before replicating Nas’s longevity and accomplishments. And he feels that he’s firmly on the path of doing so, since the likes of “bullet wounds and jail cells couldn’t” knock him off of his current path to success. 

And what the younger rapper is saying is something like he has learned from the wisdom of Nas, such as investing his money in such a manner in which securing the future takes precedence over chillin’ in the present. But that said, Savage also proceeds to engage in ample boasting centered on the accomplishments he’s already made as a professional musician.

“One Mic, One Gun”

It is also in this third verse that 21 drops the line “one mic, one gun”. In context, the first half of that statement reads like a poetic reference to Nas and the latter, Savage. For example, we do know that Nasir dropped a track titled “One Mic” back in 2001. And we also know that under normal circumstances, Savage tends to harp more heavily on the topic of gunplay.

But this is an unconventional, and may we even say inspiring rap song for this day and age. Nowadays, even the slightest insults which make their way online can result in an all-out, no-holds-barred war of words – or worse – between members of the hip-hop community. 

The Takeaway

And all things considered, what 21 Savage said about Nas’s relevancy can be taken as a diss. But he promptly proceeded to attempt to make peace, which not only has Nas accepted, but even while said comments are still circulating amongst media circles, the pair dropped a track basically praising each other. 

Well actually, it’s more like 21 Savage is biggin’ up Nas than vice versa, but still, maybe this piece will help set a more-peaceful standard concerning how hip-hop beefs are resolved in the future.

Nas & 21 Savage, "One Mic,One Gun" Lyrics

Nas and Savage

To note, Nas is almost two full decades older than 21 Savage, and as such the two rappers are from completely different generations of hip-hop. In fact just a couple of weeks before this track was released, Savage even went as far as to question Nas’s relevancy, saying that the 1990s’ emcee has managed to remain in the game not due to the efficacy of his music but rather as a result of possessing a loyal fanbase. 

So it does seem kinda odd, for lack of a better word, that fresh after that controversy the two of them have now proceeded to drop their first track together, on top of the fact that Nas’s album “King’s Disease III”, which this song is not a part of, was also released earlier this same month.

So apparently, at least part of the purpose of this track is in the name of 21 and Nas burying the hatchet of what has been described as a mini-beef. And if nothing else it is a shrewd move on the part of Nas, considering that Savage is one of the most-popular rappers of the early 2020s. For instance, as of the dropping of “One Mic, One Gun”, 21’s collaborative album with Drake, “Her Loss”, is holding down second place on the Billboard 200, after topping the list a couple of weeks prior.

Release Date of “One Mic, One Gun”

The official date upon which “One Mic, One Gun” was released is 29 November 2022.

 The labels behind this track are Mass Appeal, which Nas co-founded, as well Slaughter Gang, which is run by 21 Savage.

Credits

This song’s producer, Hit-Boy, also co-wrote it with 21 Savage, Nas and Wilson Turbinton.

The aforementioned One Mic (2001), one of Nas’s most recognizable singles, is also interpolated into “One Mic, One Gun”.

One Mic,One Gun

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