Bad Meets Evil half Royce Da 5’9” tells how The Blueprint's sole collaboration treked from Motown to Marcy
“Renegade” started out as a song me and Eminem were doing for my Rock City album. We thought the track was crazy. Em asked if I was cool with giving [Jay] that one, and I said, "Hell yeah!" I'm glad, because a classic record came of it.
When I heard Em and Jay's version, I was like, “Yo, this shit is going to be one of those ones.” It was incredible. Whenever I listen to something, I try to soak up as much game as I can and use it for inspiration. [Jay-Z’s version] actually taught me about my writing style and how to bring records home better. We weren’t in the same lane, but Jay took it where I should’ve taken it. It helped me grow.
But I don't know if it was a competition [between Eminem and Jay-Z], per se. I'm sure when Jay got Em's vocals, it pushed him to do what he did—we’re talking about two of the greats on one song. Eminem was making classic music, but to finally collaborate with the other guy putting up numbers, Detroit saw that Em was respected by his peers. It was a great look for Detroit. And a smart move by Jay to fuse what's great in hip-hop. I'm glad that song was on that album, because I knew people were going to be talking about it years later. I feel I helped with something so great, even though I played the smallest part. —As told to Steven J. Horowitz
Be sure to check out VIBE's August/September 2011 Juice issue, which features the full Blueprint 10th anniversary commemorative package.