Nas once said Eminem “washed” JAY-Z on his own single “Renegade.” But according to Memphis Bleek, Hov’s verses have aged better than Slim Shady’s. During a recent appearance on the Justin Credible Podcast, the former Roc-A-Fella Records artist was asked who took the crown and ultimately concluded it was JAY-Z.
“You really trying to spark some drama,” he says in the clip posted by The Art of Dialogue. “Everybody, of course, I feel like certain songs Jay records be over people’s head, I guess not at that time. To me, the streets and everybody, the public opinion of course says Eminem, right? At that time.
“Go back and listen to that record today, I bet y’all gonna agree it’s Jay, because Jay was talkin’ something that was so far of what you even understood or comprehend that you didn’t know what he was talking about.”
Memphis Bleek says Jay-Z's verse on the song 'Renegade' aged better than Eminem's verse. pic.twitter.com/k6bzOFoTqC
— The Art Of Dialogue (@ArtOfDialogue_) July 20, 2022
“Renegade” arrived on JAY-Z’s sixth solo album The Blueprint in 2001. Produced by Eminem and written by Hov, Shady and Luis Restro, the single was initially intended for Bad Meets Evil, Eminem’s group with Royce Da 5’9. The song went on to sell over 500,000 copies and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in February 2018.
JAY-Z’s verses touch on his fatherless childhood and how financial difficulties forced him into drug dealing. He raps his demeanor was “30 years [his] senior,” which suggests he grew up too fast. Eminem, on the other hand, raps about the criticism his music was receiving at the time and how he felt like a “media scapegoat.” They both conclude they’ll keep doing them while asserting they’ve “never been afraid to talk about anything.”
Despite the ill timing of its arrival, it sold over 427,000 copies in its inaugural week and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart where it remained for three weeks. It was later certified 2x-platinum by the RIAA.
In 2019, The Blueprint was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Find the lyrics for “Renegade” by JAY-Z here.