“One Mic” from Das’ fifth album Stillmatic is a stone-cold classic, but you’ve never heard it performed quite like this before. As part of PBS’s documentary the American Epic Sessions, the icon from Queensbridge recently hit the studio with none other than Jack White and reimagined one of his most recognizable songs as a vintage 1920’s-era ballad.
The performance was filmed of course, and you can watch the entire thing in the video above. It opens with White seated behind a grand piano, plinking out some mournful notes. Nas goes straight into the track behind an exceptionally old looking microphone, rapping with a fury that belies that stark arrangement underneath. Just behind him you can make out a drummer and a stand up bass player.
This new version of “One Mic” is the second time that Nas and White worked together to create music for the American Epic Sessions project. Last month, the duo unveiled a fresh take on an old blues classic “On The Road Again” that was originally written in 1928. “These guys are talking about women, carrying guns, protecting their honor, chasing after some woman who’s done them dirty, this is not high society black folks, this is the down under, street, wild black folk,” Nas said about that song. “It’s the same as rap music today.”
You can watch “On The Road Again” below.