"Renegade" (spelled “Renagade” [sic] on the back of the album) is a song by rapperJay-Z, which appears as the 12th track on his sixth album The Blueprint. The song is 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. The original can be found on mixtapes and has 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. It was also featured on the Lose Yourself single CD.
The song is referenced by rapper Nas on his famous diss record Ether made during the highly publicized feud between him and Jay-Z. 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.
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. Royce da 5'9"'s first verse was used as a demo verse for Eminem's verse on the song "Dead Wrong". Both of his verses are to state that Em and he are liable to kill if the need is felt. Ultimately, both Jay-Z (or Royce da 5'9") 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."