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Top 25 Hip-Hop Songs of the 2000s: #15 Nas “One Mic”

Posted by Nathan S. on 12/03/09 | Filed under Features, Nas, Best of the 2000s
Top 25 Hip-Hop Songs of the 2000s
With the number 15 pick of our "Top 25 of the 2000s" countdown, and are proud to select...Nas' "One Mic"!

Nas is unarguably one of the best emcees of all-time, but he can frustratingly get caught up making misplaced gangster music or painful club hits ("Oochie Walli" anyone?). Not so for "One Mic", his most lyrically pure track since his breakthought track "New York State of Mind". Fittingly "One Mic" came off Nas' 2002 album "Stillmatic" and while it was only a moderate commercial hit, peaking at #43 on the Billboard charts, it was the man's best lyrical work of the decade. Plus it samples Phil Collin's "In The Air Tonight", so bonus.

Nas frustratingly gets distracted by his ego or enormous ideas at times, which is why all of hip-hop celebrated when he dropped "One Mic", five straight minutes of lyrical fire from one of the best rappers of all time. The title says it all. Forget everything else, all the man needs is a notebook and a mic to touch the heart of what hip-hop was meant to be. Alternating between storytelling flows and passionate declarations, Nas goes in on "One Mic" as hard as any rapper on any track over the course of the entire decade. Both in terms of its message and musical dopeness, if I could play aspiring rappers any one song, this would be pretty damn high on the list.

As long as we're here, the 2000s will go down in history as a very strange time for Nas. At times he seemed like the greatest rapper alive and at times he was almost forgotten, forced to make dramatic declarations like "hip-hop is dead" to regain some attention. Unlike Jay, whose career has more or less stayed consistently top-notch, the much more passionate and at times troubled Nas has seen some real peaks and valleys, meaning it's hard to truly assess his impact on hip-hop over the course of the decade. Regardless, "One Mic" will go down in history as truly remarkable offering to the rap gods, and we're more than happy to include it here on the Top 25 countdown.

For a complete list of the Top 25 picks so far click here.

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