Some tracks in hip hop take on a life of their own through becoming a synonymous term. Nas’ “Ether” took on a life of its own by having a definitive diss become known as “ethering” someone. Something similar happened in the case of Jay-Z’s “Renegade,” where Eminem had a phenomenal verse on the song and in turn “renegaded” Jay-Z on his own song. The term became the equivalent of outdoing someone on their own song, but the track has always been contested. Who had the best verse on the song? Is there a version of the song with a better verse via freestyle? Who actually Renegaded “Renegade?”
Jay-Z – Renegade (Feat. Eminem)
Impossible to talk about the track without its origins. The original track featured a slew of quotables from Jay-Z but Eminem’s presence on the track is undeniable as well. The track features an Eminem beat, an Eminem hook, and multiple well put together verses from Em. Its easy to make the case for Eminem’s last verse song being the best; with it being an insane syllable onslaught, challenging Christian formalities through his public persona on the track. Yet at the same time, you have Jay with now classic lyrics like “Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?” and his impressive rags-to-riches story being told.
Raisin’ my fingers to critics, raisin’ my head to the sky
Big, I did it, multi before I die
Bad Meets Evil – Renegade
As the story goes, Eminem had originally created the track with Royce Da 5’9″ as part of Bad Meets Evil, but the track winded up in the hands of Jay-Z. While Em’s verse on the track is barely changed, Royce’s verses are all new. While Royce kicks off with a strong opening verse, his second verse on the track falters with some weak moments such as making a fart song.
Fabolous – Renegade (ft. Paul Cain)
This version of the track sees Fabolous in his element, the mixtape freestyle. This may not be his peak, that would come later with the There Is No Competition & Soul Tapes, but Fab still pulls off a flawless verse. It may not have the heavyweight lyrics that Jay & Em pull off, but Fab pulls off an effortless rhyme scheme of better living after so much grinding.
Lil Wayne – Renegades (ft. Nutt Da Kidd)
Another early career freestyle, Wayne also took a shot at the beat during his Sqad Up days. An ’02 freestyle, so far from his peak but still absolutely on fire, this track sees him showcase how effortless the flow came to him. Impressively, Kidd Kidd (known at the time as Nutt Da Kidd), pulls off a fantastic verse as well detailing his street origins. One can wonder how much better this track, as well as Fab, would have been if they remixed the beat during their primes.
Fl3A – Renegade
Providing a wholly unique approach to the beat, with a slightly new drum pattern to the beat as well, Fl3a approaches the track in a style that’s untouchable. Starting off the track in an initially conventional style, he slowly dives into a completely unhinged style. Questioning all the people against him & feeling lost throughout life, you can feel his emotion in every bar.
Jackboy – Renegade Freestyle (Closure)
Adding fuel to the fire between the beef Jackboy had with Kodak Black, Jackboy released another diss towards Kodak with a “Renegade” freestyle. Questioning Kodak’s street loyalty & rise, as well as reinforcing his own, Jackboy hits Kodak with everything in his arsenal. Paired with his Florida flow, he creates his own unique pocket in the track no one before him could do.
Euro – Renegade Freestyle
Euro was never good.