I contemplate believing in Karma,
If those on top could just break, then we'd be eatin' tomorrow.
Stillmatic has one of the best battle tracks of all time, "One Mic," a song where Nas raps about fellatio in reverse, "Got Ur Self A..." (which has one of the best samples of any song), and countless other classic tracks (well, fourteen if we're counting), but "What Goes Around" is hands down my favorite track. It's the one track on the album that I can never get through without replaying at least 3-4 times.
Awakened by his fued with Jay-Z, the album as a whole represents a renaissance for Nas--a recommitment to the vicious, sharp lyrical style that hadn't been seen since the days of It Was Written. This track epitomizes the album for me. Salaam Remi provides a relatively sparse instrumental (it's basically a drum kit, with occasional guitar and piano samples) and Keon Bryce sings a brief but haunting chorus, but the song's true focus is on Nasty Nas, who just goes off on the track with vicious one-liner after one-liner.
It's not so much the subject matter--the Orwellian critique of capitalism--that keeps drawing listeners back to this song so much as its delivery. You realize, listening to Stillmatic over a decade later, that you're listening to a master of the craft at the peek of his skill.
Enjoy and remember it's all scientific, mystic/ You know the Earth and the stars/ Don't hesitate to say you heard it from Nas.