Royce 5’9 & Kxng Crooked Discuss Who Was Better On Renegade: JAY-Z Or Eminem (Video)
Kxng Crooked is the latest respected Hip-Hop lyricist to segue into driving dialogue in the music media. Recently, the Long Beach, California lyricist also known as Crooked I launched Crook’s Corner. Taking a concept from his hashtag of longstanding Hip-Hop discussions on social media with peers and fans, the MC has partnered with HipHopDX to host guests in conversations about Rap music and culture. Following a recent appearance by Tech N9ne, the C.O.B. O.G. welcomes his Slaughterhouse co-founder Royce 5’9 to the Corner. With the full episode arriving Saturday (June 1), a segment released previewing the discussion.
“The most debated song, in my opinion, in Hip-Hop history, is ‘Renegade,'” Crooked I begins, referring to JAY-Z and Eminem’s 2001 Blueprint collaboration, embedded below. “That is a split down the middle: ‘JAY-Z had the best verse’ [versus] ‘Em’ washed JAY-Z on his own sh*t’ debate. That argument goes on forever.”
Crook’ points out that Royce 5’9 was originally on “Renegade,” before JAY-Z. That version of the Eminem-produced song is embedded below. “I was signed to Sony/Columbia [Records], and Marshall was executive producing my album. We were gonna do two songs that were gonna make the album.” The other song, “Rock City,” ended up on Royce’s debut LP of the same name, which eventually released independently in 2002. “Rock City” became a video single ahead of the album, even though both tracks had been recorded. “I just thought it was okay,” Royce recalls of “Renegade.” The track was made a few years removed from the pair’s Bad Meets Evil material in the late 1990s. “We had did so many songs together where we was just kind of rapping. I just thought it was okay, and it just one of them joints that was just kinda sitting.” Eminem called Royce some time later, expressing his desire to send the track to JAY-Z. “I’m such a fan of both. Jay is definitely one of those people that I definitely always wanted to see [Eminem] work with. So when he sent it to him, and he did it, that’s when it started sounding great to me,” Nickel Nine admits with a laugh.
“I think what people are arguing is they’re arguing preference at that point. You’ve got two guys that do two different things, and they’re so good at what they do that they figured out a way to join the two worlds together. People who prefer JAY-Z’s content, what he talks about and the way that he approaches the beat, they’re always gonna say that he got the better verse—because they like his style of Rap better. But whether one is more lyrical than the other, like we said, it’s subjective.”
At 2:50, Kxng Crooked asks Royce if he would like to “weigh in on that debate.” Nickel responds, “I don’t think it’s one of them kinda songs, man. I don’t think it’s one of those kinda songs ’cause it didn’t sound like they were trying to tear each other’s head off; they made a song. I mean, I prefer the way that Em’ attacked the beat a little bit better,” Royce admits. Crooked adds, “Yeah, his cadence was crazy on that.” Royce continues, “I’ve heard both of them go crazier, just on some super-lyrical sh*t.”
Although 2018 saw the disbanding of Slaughterhouse, Royce, Kxng Crooked, and Joell Ortiz rapped together on the “Timberlan’d Up (Remix),” a free download supplement to Apollo Brown and Joell’s Mona Lisa album.
Notably, Royce 5’9 is currently producing a project from Kxng Crook’s proteges, Family Bvsiness (formerly Horseshoe Gang). Crooked confirmed the news during a recent and comprehensive sit-down with adam22 and the No Jumper Podcast.
#BonusBeat: A playlist of JAY-Z and Eminem’s “Renegade” followed by the Royce 5’9 version: