Album: The Blueprint
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam
While The Blueprint was heralded for its cohesiveness and soulful sound, one track that didn't fit the mold was the Eminem-produced “Renegade.” Marshall's melodramatic mood music was a direct contrast to the chipmunk soul featured throughout the rest of the opus.
The sonic disparity didn't seem to matter to fans, as they'd been thirsty for a collab from these two lyrical titans for years. The track was initially a Bad Meets Evil pairing, but due to Em's time constraints and approaching Blueprint deadlines, Em had to slide it to Jay instead (the original with Royce can be found on the internets).
To be considered one of hip-hop's all-time greats, you should be able to switch up your flow to attempt a pattern perfected by another artist, especially one you're sharing a song with. Biggie did it with Bone Thugs, and Jay did it on “Renegade,” giving us his best Marshall-inspired layering.
Em and Jay were at the top of hip-hop's food chain at the time, so it was only right they spent five-plus minutes addressing their role model status, critiquing bad parents, and explaining why they were rebels to America. The questions remains, though: Did Em murder Jay on his own shit?
20. Jay-Z f/ Eminem "Renegade" (2001)