Nas spoke to Rolling Stone magazine about this song: "I'm a huge fan of Phil Collins and I just wanted to take the vibe from 'In the Air Tonight.' 'One Mic' is just about the power. It's almost like Hip Hop is Dead in its infant stages, saying how much this is a blessing to be out here, speaking about what's happening in my neighborhood, having the whole world understand and relate. I can't understand how Bill O'Reilly can be angry at a song called 'Shoot 'Em Up.' If I didn't have a microphone, I could never talk about 'Shoot 'Em Up,' and I was talking about Queens, New York, being shot up. What do I have to do to get somebody to turn around and hear what I'm saying and take it serious? I'm not here just to be in your face talking nonsense, we're talking about reality. For him to be upset or people like him to be upset is insane to me. It just shows how ignorant people are. 'One Mic' just gives me the ability, no matter how much ignorant people are mad that I'm exposing or talking about our country, no matter what the language is, I'm talking in a language that the people can hear, I'm not sugar-coating it. So if it scares people and people feel guilty, people feel like they've got to make up excuses to why the world's this way, no matter what they say, like they've got their mic, I've got mine, and that's what that song's about."