Nas & 21 Savage – “One Mic, One Gun”

Nas & 21 Savage – “One Mic, One Gun”

Nas and 21 Savage were at the center of a minor controversy earlier this month. In a conversation hosted by Jay-Z on the audio chat app Clubhouse, 21 shared thoughts on Nas’ place within the modern rap landscape: “I don’t feel like he’s relevant. I just feel like he got a loyal fan base. He still makes good music.” This in turn led to a comparison between Nas and Jay-Z’s standing within current pop culture, wherein every new Jay verse is met with microscopic attention and rhapsodic praise whereas new Nas music does not move the needle the same way.

Although 21 maybe should have chosen a less loaded word than “relevant,” he presented a fairly accurate summary of where Nas stands today, almost 30 years on from Illmatic (and more than 20 years past “Ether,” as long as we’re talking about Jay vs. Nas). But because people online will jump at any opportunity to interpret a statement in bad faith, a predictable and obnoxious outrage cycle began. It led to 21 clarifying on Twitter, “I would never disrespect nas or any legend who paved the way for me y’all be tryna take stuff and run with it.”

Now Nas and 21 have put a stop to the online histrionics by collaborating on a new single. Upon announcing “One Mic, One Gun” on Instagram, Nas wrote, “Only way we moving is with love, respect and unity. The foundational principles of hip hop. Excited to collaborate with my young brother and I hope more artist use turbulent moments and turn them into a time to make new art. That’s what it’s about.”

“One Mic, One Gun” is produced by Nas’ frequent collaborator Hit-Boy, and you can hear it below.

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