This No I.D. produced cut finds Nas reviewing his past in Queens and the times spent with peers like Shan and AZ. He mines his background for factors that contributed to the man he is today.
The song finds Nas condemning discrimination in Hip-Hop lyrics. He raps: "You seem to blame all your shortcomings on sex and race. The Mafia, homosexuals and all the Jews. You might as well blame all your shortcomings on your foes the Jews. It's bogwash point of views, stereotypical, anti-Semitic like the foul words Gibson spewed." Nas explained to NME: "That's just me saying let go of the illusions of someone holding you back."
"Piano Man" was inspired by Billy Joel's time playing at a piano bar in Los Angeles. The "real estate novelist" was a guy who always talked about writing a book, but spent all his spare time in the bar.