Ain't no back and forth, ain't no left or right (21, 21)
I got King's Disease but I move like a knight (21, 21)
Rappers bandwagon tryna get some likes (21, 21)
I do it for the fam', never for the hype (21, 21)
When you turn to legend, no such thing as relevance (21, 21)
They must've forgot that I'm a new rapper that got integrity (21, 21)
All in the media and blogs, that's just a place I don't care to be (21, 21)
Most of these niggas wouldn't say shit if they was ahead of me (Hit-Boy)

No back and forth, I did it back then, I do it right now (woo)
I opened a lane for my era, I'm goated, they gave me the crown
G.O.A.T. with all the success, the negative press, I'm watchin' it pile (uh)
They sayin' that black music dyin', I'm sayin', "They wipin' us out"
But look at me now, damn, y'all, look at me now
Whatever I do is N.Y., I'm keepin' it Queens 'cause that's my side (what up?)
I shook up the town, I shook up the city, I shook up the state
I'm with 21 on my second run, this shit come with age

It's a conversation (woo), it's determination (yeah)
Your interpretation, I just shocked the nation (oh)
Did my tour with The Wu', I came back and I set the pace (whoa)
They just ran in one of my cribs and took what? I replaced it (haha)
Two Caucasians up out of their faces
Most of y'all assumed that they was black, it's exploitation (Black Caesar)
They ain't know that I see everything, invest in the Ring
It's cool to be mainstream, I'd rather be timeless
That's if we keepin' it P, 21 (21, 21)

I'm on that same trajectory
Bullet wounds and jail cells couldn't stop me, this my destiny
Never controversial, I'm mad the fans expected less from me
Nigga sneezed around me, wipe his nose, won't get no bless from me
Fuck the jewelry, I rather buy land and invest successfully
I got all type of stocks and bonds, Kehinde Wiley on my wall
And I'ma pass it to my son
If Savage like the capo that mean Escobar the don, one mic', one gun
My net worth like eight figures, I'm workin' on gettin' me nine
You know that I'm one of them niggas, I ain't doin' no cappin' or lyin'
You rappers be chasin' the hype, I do it and I don't be tryin'
I ain't goin' against no legend, nigga, I'm tryna be next in line
They actin' like I just popped, I was platinum before I signed
I went platinum without no features, I put platinum on your mind
This Glock I got two-tone, and this bitch don't bust no rhyme
They wanna see me fucked so they could deport me like I'm Shyne

No back and forth, I did it back then, I do it right now (woo)
They tellin' me that I'm the G-O-A-T, I been here for a while (while)
G.O.A.T., love me today, hate me tomorrow, no switchin' my style (style)
21, Yak, y'all get together, be big for the South (the globe)
But look at me now, damn, y'all, look at me now (uh)
Whatever I do is New York, you hear that shit all in my vowels (grrt)
I shook up the town, I shook up the city, I shook up the state
I'm one of them ones, on my second run, I'm on a new wave

Two kings
We're sendin' love to the whole culture
21, Esco, Mass Appeal, Slaughter Gang
This shit too easy, king

Lyrics submitted by spliphstar, edited by corrupppp

One Mic song meanings
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  • +2
    General Comment

    First of all, the purpose of this site is to post what you believe is the meaning of the song. It is not to voice what rapper you like best, or to criticize the song without even explaining what you perceive to be the meaning. Now, I live in the hood so I can shine light on the perceptive presented in the lyrics, and hopefully people will have an open mind and realize that people think very differently. For example, if you move to a third world country and the change in cultural reality would be depressing because people think differently, and thus reason different, and therefore act differently. Now, on to the lyrics...

    [ "Yo, all I need is one mic, one beat, one stage One nigga front, my face on the front page" ]

    The lines above is simply talking about methods of expression. What the messenger requires in order to get out a message. It also expresses the importance of the message since throughout the song there is an emphasis on the means by which to get the message deliver. The whole song is clearly focused on the delivery of a message.

    [ "One god to show me how to do things his son did Pure, like a cup of virgin blood; mixed with 151, one sip'll make a nigga flip" ]

    At this point of the song, he transitions into the delivery of his message taking on a second persona, which represents a certain irony. The injection of God simply indicates that this individual is on a bad road and need to change course.

    [ "Writing names on my hollow tips, plotting shit Mad violence who I'm gon' body, this hood politics Acknowledge it, leave bodies chopped in garbage's Seeds watch us, grow up and try to follow us" ]

    He is re-emphasizing nature of the character he is playing, and also throwing in irony. The line where he states "seeds are watching, growing up, and following" is an attack on the character that he is role-playing. The character, in reality, would not acknowledge that his actions are determining the future of his kids, the neighbors kids, and thus the entire community. In fact, he explicitly calls on acknowledgement of that fact in the lyrics.

    [ "Blacking out as I shoot back, fuck getting hit! This is my hood I'ma rep, to the death of it 'til everybody come home, little niggas is grown Hoodrats, don't abortion your womb, we need more warriors soon Sip from the star sun and the moon" ]

    He goes back again to the topic of children. In fact, he resorts to irony once again. In a sense, he is downplaying the idea that abortion is a bad thing. Why not abort a child if it will be a seed watching, growing up, and trying to follow the drug dealers and thugs who are constantly killing each others in the street. As they die off quickly, do we need more warriors?

    [ "In this life of police chases street sweepers and coppers Stick-up kids with no conscience, leaving victims with doctors If you really think you ready to die, with nines out This is what nas is bout, nigga the time is now!" ]

    He is essentially saying that two wars are beginning waged. One war is black on black. Another is between blacks & police. In the last scene of the music video, there is a black mob fighting black police. In earlier scenes of the video, the police were white. I will leave the interpretation of that to your imagination.

    [ "At all the hatred against me, fuck all of them Jesus died at age 33, there's thirty-three shots From twin glocks there's sixteen apiece, that's thirty-two Which means, one of my guns was holding 17 Twenty-seven hit your crew, six went into you"]

    I can't figure this lyric out, but it is strange because the math doesn't add up. How can he have 17 bullets in a glock that only holds 16? In addition, how does the age of Jesus death relate to the number of bullets he shot? Maybe it was just a meaningless lyric, but I doubt it. I think the meaning has something to do with the cycle of revenge and how that creates a perpetuation of violence in the hood.

    [" Everybody gotta die sometime; hope your funeral Never gets shot up, bullets tear through the innocent Nothing is fair, niggas roll up, shooting from wheelchairs My heart is racing, tasting revenge in the air I let the shit slide for too many years, too many times Now I'm strapped with a couple of macs, too many nines If y'all niggas really wit me get busy load up the semis Do more than just hold it explode the clip until you empty There's nothing in our way, they bust, we bust, they rust, we rust Led flyin, feel it? I feel it in my gut That we take these bitches to war, lie 'em down Cause we stronger now my nigga the time is now!! "]

    The idea of revenge is must clearer in this picture. The idea of a guy shoot from a wheel chair. In the hood, if someone is in a wheel chair, it sometimes mean that they were shot and could no longer walk. The idea of funerals being shot up drives home the idea of revenge, and innocent people being killed displays the devastation of revenge and it's cycle. They bust, we bust, leaves everyone dead. And once again, the need for warriors and not aborters.

    [ "What you call a infinite brawl, eternal souls clashing War gets deep, some beef is everlasting Complete with thick scars, brothers knifing each other Up in prison yards, drama, where does it start?" ]

    Once again, the cycle of revenge.

    ["You know the block was ill as a youngster Every night it was like a, cop would get killed body found in the dumpster"]

    Why would a youngster believe the block was ill because a cop got killed? It goes right back to a seed watching and trying to follow.

    ["Bitches left me cause they thought I was finished Should of knew she wasn't true she came to me when her man caught a sentence"]

    Clearly, if anything, this line shows that he is taking on multiple characters. He is both the man who caught a sentence, and the guy who got the fleeing girl who wasn't true.

    ["Diamonds are blinding, I never make the same mistakes Moving with a change of pace, lighter load, see now the king is straight Swelling my melon cause none of these niggas real Heard he was, telling police, how can a kingpin squeal? This is crazy, I'm on the right track I'm finally found You need some soul searching, the time is now"]

    He is pretty much denouncing the entire chao that is depicted in the song.

    KenTheBoton December 06, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    rappers need to put more time in their music, instead of talking of their "bitches, money, escalades, and ice" ... but that's just what i think.

    but to comment on this song, it's about time someone (especially nas) has made top quality, meaningful song.

    itsmeallanon April 14, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    nas is the best lyricist period. gay-z better watch out cuz nas will take his soul

    alkal#3on April 17, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Good song

    viper2001_21on April 30, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    y'all dont even understand this shit. there are so many layers of irony, sarcasm, reference, ambiguity in this joint that those earlier in the thread attempting to make grand judgements might as well give up analyzing it. you don't get it.

    patobrienon April 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I find this song to be up there with one of the few rap songs that actually have meaning and feelings behind it. It goes back to the early 90's and late 80's when rappers, even though they were somewhat of a mockery, rapped what they really felt, not about how much money, bitches, cars and other shit they have. Most rappers today speak of the gangster life as a great life to live, but Nas raps about the dark side to it, a side more people should see.

    BlinkGrlNo182on April 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    this is one of my favorite nas songs. he is speaking the truth its not all about killing someone its a great song cause it starts of calm and then he get crazy. ALL HE NEEDS IS ONE MIC, hes the best rapper out here today !!!!

    spoiledprincesson April 30, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i dont usually listen to nas, but i think this song is his best. it has real lyrics that i respect. i think this song is deep, and emotional.

    in this video the lights being blured looks like the still pictures in eminems marshal mathers lp cd cover ( on the inside)

    kottonmouthkingsk8ron May 02, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This is a really good song, I love how he only needs One Mic to get his message across.

    MrMojoRisin5552on May 03, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    one mic... good suggestion.

    rocktheearthon May 04, 2002   Link

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