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Song by Jay-Z featuring Eminem
from the album The Blueprint
ReleasedSeptember 11, 2001

"Renegade" is a song by rapper Jay-Z, which appears as the 12th track on his sixth album The Blueprint.[1] The song is written by Jay-Z, Eminem, and Luis Resto[2] and produced by and features Eminem, who is the only guest appearance on the album with rap verses. It was originally a collaboration between Eminem and Royce da 5'9" as part of the Bad Meets Evil series, but Royce was later replaced by Jay-Z.[3] The original can be found on mixtapes and has been leaked onto the internet.

The Jay-Z version of the song, released in 2001 as featured on The Blueprint, was later included as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Eminem's 2005 greatest hits album, Curtain Call: The Hits.


"Renegade" was originally recorded by Bad Meets Evil, a hip hop duo with members Eminem and Royce da 5'9".[4] During the recording of Royce da 5'9"'s debut studio album Rock City, to be released via Columbia Records, Interscope Records informed Royce da 5'9" that they would only allow one Eminem collaboration on the album, forcing him to choose between two songs the pair had recorded together: the title track and "Renegade". He chose the former, which went on to be released as the album's first single,[5] leaving "Renegade" unreleased for the time being.

During an interview on the MTV show RapFix Live in 2011, Eminem revealed that he had initially intended to present Jay-Z with an entirely different production when the latter reached out and asked him to work on The Blueprint: however, Eminem did not have physical access to the reel it was recorded on at the time.[4] Knowing Jay-Z was working to a short deadline, Eminem decided to offer him "Renegade" instead.[4] After Royce da 5'9" granted his approval,[5] Jay-Z recorded his own vocals in place of Royce's and sent them back to Eminem, who mixed them together into the final version of the song.[4]

The song is referenced by rapper Nas on his famous diss song "Ether" made during their highly publicized feud. Nas says to Jay-Z that "Eminem murdered you on your own shit;" stating that he felt Eminem outperformed Jay-Z on Jay's own song. Years later Jay admitted the Nas claim in "A Star Is Born". Nas and Jay-Z had both contributed to the soundtrack of Eminem's 2002 film 8 Mile, with Nas' contribution, "U Wanna Be Me", being a diss towards Jay-Z. Rapper The Game made reference to the Nas verse on Ether, on his own song with Eminem, "We Ain't", in satire by stating "Lo, get Dre on the phone quick Tell him Em' just killed me on my own shit".

Song meaning

The song has different meanings to both artists. Jay-Z's two verses deal with his fatherless childhood, and how financial difficulties faced by his mother forced him to sell drugs for survival (thus becoming a renegade to society). He states his demeanor was "30 years [his] senior," implying that hardships he faced during his childhood forced him to grow up and make adult decisions from a young age. Jay-Z argues that his music is the product of his rough upbringing, and that it speaks to others going through the same problems. Thus, he dismisses critics who lump him together with artists who only rap about "jewels". He accuses these critics of simply "skimming" through his music, instead of listening thoroughly.

On the other hand, Eminem deals with the public perception of his music. At the time, Eminem was at the center of many criticisms due to the content of his lyrics. His references to drug use and religion caused many parents to publicly denounce his music. Eminem sees this outcry as hypocritical, claiming that these parents are using him as a "media scapegoat" to deflect attention away from their own shortcomings as parents. Both of his verses are to state that Eminem and he are liable to kill if the need is felt. Ultimately, both Jay-Z and Eminem use the hook to say that, while they may face public disapproval for different reasons, they will not change their behavior and have "never been afraid to talk about anything".

Credits and personnel

The credits for "Renegade" are adapted from the liner notes of The Blueprint.[6]

Studio locations


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[7] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Jay Z's Blueprint album on Tidal". Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  2. ^ Decoded by Jay Z
  3. ^ Royce Da 5'9 on Eminem Lab
  4. ^ a b c d Markman, Rob (May 19, 2011). "Eminem Talks Making of Jay-Z's 'Renegade'". MTV News. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Phillips, Yoh (April 16, 2016). "Royce da 5'9" Is the Reason Eminem Murdered JAY-Z on "Renegade"". DJBooth. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  6. ^ The Blueprint (Liner notes). Jay-Z. Roc-A-Fella Records. 2001. 314 586 396-1.((cite AV media notes)): CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  7. ^ "American single certifications – Jay-Z – Renegade". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 12, 2018.