Song of the Day #1,874: ‘Renegade’ – Jay-Z & Eminem

jay-z_the_blueprintToday’s Jay-Z track features a guest appearance by Eminem, a rapper whose work I know quite well. This track originally appeared on Jay’Z’s 2001 album The Blueprint, and later on a reissue of Eminem’s first greatest hits collection, Curtain Call.

2001 was a year after the release of The Marshall Mathers LP and just about the height of Eminem’s popularity, not to mention the controversy surrounding him.

The Blueprint also marked the coming out of a hotshot young producer by the name of Kanye West, who took the helm on four of the album’s tracks.

Rapper Nas, often named as one of the best to ever pick up a mic, was not fond of Jay-Z in the early days. The two of them traded barbs in their songs on a regular basis. Of this track, Nas threw this dart: “Eminem murdered you on your own shit.” Guess I’ll find out if that’s true.

OK… based on the lyrics, I’d call this one a draw. Jay-Z has the more compelling subject matter, discussing his early life on the streets, while Eminem treads the familiar territory of defending his music against the offended. But Eminem’s rhymes flow a little more easily, at least on the page.

How about in the headphones?

I have to agree with Nas on this one… Eminem murdered him. But that’s more a credit to Eminem than a knock on Jay-Z. His raps are true performances, something I don’t hear from Jay-Z so far.

Also give credit to Eminem for producing this track. It sounds a lot like the material from his first few albums, which is a good thing.

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
Motherfuckers say that I’m foolish I only talk about jewels
Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it
See I’m influenced by the ghetto you ruined
That same dude you gave nothing, I made something doing
What I do, through and through and
I give you the news with a twist, it’s just his ghetto point-of-view
The renegade, you been afraid
I penetrate pop culture, bring em a lot closer to the block where they
Pop toasters and they live with they Moms
Got dropped roadsters from botched robberies, niggas crouched over
Mami’s knocked up cause she wasn’t watched over
Knocked down by some clown when child support knocked
No he’s not around
Now how that sound to ya, jot it down
I bring it through the ghetto without riding round
Hiding down ducking strays from frustrated youths stuck in they ways
Just read a magazine that fucked up my day
How you rate music that thugs with nothing relate to it
I help them see they way through it, not you
Can’t step in my pants, can’t walk in my shoes
Bet everything you’re worth, you’ll lose your tie and your shirt

[Verse 2: Eminem]
Since I’m in a position to talk to these kids and they listen
I ain’t no politician but I’ll kick it with em a minute
Cause, see, they call me a menace and if the shoe fits I’ll wear it
But if it don’t, then y’all’ll swallow the truth, grin and bear it
Now who’s the king of these rude, ludicrous, lucrative lyrics
Who could inherit the title, put the youth in hysterics
Using his music to steer it, sharing his views and his merits
But there’s a huge interference: they’re saying you shouldn’t hear it
Maybe it’s hatred I spew, maybe it’s food for the spirit
Maybe it’s beautiful music I made for you to just cherish
But I’m debated, disputed, hated and viewed in America
As a motherfuckin’ drug addict, like you didn’t experiment, nah nah
That’s when you start to stare at who’s in the mirror
And see yourself as a kid again, and you get embarrassed
And I got nothing to do but make you look stupid as parents
You fucking do-gooders, too bad you couldn’t do good at marriage
And do you have any clue what I had to do to get here
I don’t think you do so stay tuned
And keep your ears glued to the stereo
Cause here we go, he’s {*Jigga j-Jigga*}
And I’m the sinister Mr. Kiss-My-Ass, it’s just the

[Hook: Eminem and Jay-Z]
Renegade, never been afraid to say
What’s on my mind at any given time of day
Cause I’m a renegade! Never been afraid to talk
About anything, anything, anything, anything, renegade
Never been afraid to say
What’s on my mind at any given time of day
Cause I’m a renegade, never been afraid to holler
About anything (etc.)

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
I had to hustle, my back to the wall, ashy knuckles
Pockets filled with a lot of lint, not a cent
Gotta vent, lot of innocent lives lost on the project bench
Whatchu hollering, gotta pay rent, bring dollars in
By the bodega, iron under my coat, feeling braver
Do-rag wrapping my waves up, pockets full of hope
Do not step to me, I’m awkward, I box lefty
An orphan my pops left me, and often, my momma wasn’t home
Could not stress to me I wasn’t grown, especially on nights
I brought something home to quiet the stomach rumblings
My demeanor, thirty years my senior
My childhood didn’t mean much, only raising green up
Raising my fingers to critics
Raising my head to the sky B.I.G. I did it, multi before I die
No lie, just know I chose my own fate
I drove by the fork in the road and went straight

[Verse 4: Eminem]
See I’m a poet to some, a regular modern-day Shakespeare
Jesus Christ, the King of these Latter-Day Saints here
To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me
As a monger of hate, satanist, scatter-brained atheist
But that ain’t the case, see it’s a matter of taste
We as a people decide if Shady’s as bad as they say he is
Or is he the latter, a gateway to escape
Media scapegoat; who they can be mad at today
See it’s easy as cake, simple as whistling Dixie
While I’m waving the pistol at sixty Christians against me
Go to war with the Mormons, take a bath with the Catholics
In holy water, no wonder they tried to hold me under longer
I’m a motherfucking spiteful, delightful eyeful
The new Ice Cube, motherfuckers hate to like you
What did I do, I’m just a kid from the gutter
Making this butter off these bloodsuckers
Cause I’m a muthafuckin’


One thought on “Song of the Day #1,874: ‘Renegade’ – Jay-Z & Eminem

  1. Dana says:

    I’m with you and Nas. Eminent takes this rap battle. Going back to what I said yesterday, eminent is just more unique, charaatic and interesting as a performer.

    The music and particularly the chorus by the way are classic eminem style.

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