Eminem: 50 Greatest Songs

The best from the bloody, bombastic, brilliant career of the hip-hop troublemaker

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19. Jay-Z feat. Eminem, "Renegade" (2001)

Though it appeared on Jay-Z's pinnacle achievement – 2001's The Blueprint – the lyrically astounding "Renegade" was always Eminem's song. He produced it and recorded the original version with Royce Da 5'9" as the duo Bad Meets Evil. So, when Nas savaged Jay on 2001 diss epic "Ether," charging that "Eminem murdered you on your own shit," it was a distortion in more ways than one. In fact, Jay's verse sketches lucid, entrancing metaphors that work both as introspection and inspiration. Plus, unlike every other major MC who appeared on a track with Eminem, he doesn't strain to battle on Em's gloriously spiteful turf. He follows his own artistic path. Good decision since Em's tightly packed internal rhymes burst with assonance and he flows almost casually yet no less emphatically – that old familiar ire only pitching up his voice toward the end of his last verse so it feels more earned. On 2009's "A Star Is Born," Jay-Z gave his official blessing: "His flow on 'Renegade,' fucking awesome, applaud him."

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