Cases of Rappers Being "Renegaded"

July 21, 2013 -


Some of you reading the title of this piece might be thinking, “What the hell does it mean to be ‘renegaded?’ ” Well fear not little boys and girls because I'm gonna break it down to guys like Merriam Webster.

ren•e•gade verb \ˈre-ni-ˌgād\
to make a guest a appearance on another MC’s track or album and to then proceed to outshine that MC on his or her own track or album.

I'm gonna present to you guys a few cases of rappers being renegaded.

Case 1
Track: “Renegade” by Jay-Z
Album: The Blueprint
Perpetrator: Eminem

It’s only appropriate that I start with the track that gave birth to the term that we are examining right now. Let me give you a little background info so you can fully understand the significance of this track.

The Blueprint is Jay-Z’s most successful album to date and is considered by many to be his magnum opus. It was his first record since his debut to receive both universal critical acclaim and commercial success. This was Young Hov’s coronation as the King of Hip-Hop. None of the tracks on The Blueprint feature a guest verse…except one. And the MC who was featured was Eminem, who was the hungriest rapper at the time. The result was something that no one expected. Even back then, Jay-Z was considered to be one of the top MC’s in the game. And even though no one doubted Eminem’s lyrical skills, no one predicted that he would show up hip-hop’s top dog…on his own album. Even though most of the buzz surrounding The Blueprint was about how good it was, Eminem out-rhyming Jay-Z became a hot topic. It didn’t do Hov any favors because Nas, who was feuding with Jigga at the time, used it as fodder for his diss track “Ether.”

Case 2
Track: “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)” by Kanye West
Album: Late Registration
Perpetrator: Jay-Z

If for some reason Jay-Z was bitter about being renegaded on The Blueprint, he’d redeem himself eventually. Now, everyone might not agree with me, (especially all of you Yeezy diehards) but I think Hov stole the show on this track. Kanye has gone on record in saying that he prefers this version of “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” to the original, and Jay-Z’s verse may have something to do with that. Also, the Jiggaman gave us one of his classic lines in this one: “I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man.”

Case 3
Track: “Run This Town” by Jay-Z
Album: The Blueprint 3
Perpetrator: Kanye West

Oh, the irony. Yeezy returned the favor when he was featured on this track. Kanye was going through a difficult time. His mom had recently died and his most recent record, 808’s & Heartbreak, got mixed reviews from critics. He was also about to be become public enemy #1 later that year at the VMA’s. Needless to say, Mr. West had a lot of pent up aggression, and he channeled that into some of the best bars that were featured on the entire Blueprint 3 album. Jay-Z certainly held his own, but Yeezy was on a different level.

Case 4
Track: “Ghetto Dreams” by Common
Album: The Dreamer/The Believer
Perpetrator: Nas

Not only is “Ghetto Dreams” the hardest track on The Dreamer/The Believer, but I think it could possibly be the hardest track of Common’s entire catalogue. Common’s two verses are pretty solid, if not great. But when Nas steps up to the mic, the gloves come off. A lot of times, MC’s like to ease their way into a verse and crescendo their way to a highpoint and end on that. Now, I wasn’t there when this track was recorded, but if someone suggested that to Nas, I bet he would’ve said something along the lines of “fuck that shit,” because he comes out guns blazing on his verse. It felt as if No I.D, made the beat for Nas instead of Common. And as such as I love Common, Nas made his verses seem like nursery rhymes.

Case 5
Track: “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest
Album: The Low End Theory
Perpetrator: Busta Rhymes

This song is the reason why Busta Rhymes has a career. In 1991, Busta Rhymes was given a golden opportunity and he capitalized on it. At the time, he was part of a group called Leaders of the New School and everyone noticed that he was the most talented member of the group (a fact that would later drive the group apart). One person who noticed this was Q-Tip, and he asked Leaders of the New School to do a track with Tribe on the last song on The Low End Theory: “Scenario.” What was surprising to some people, was that Q-Tip chose Busta Rhymes to have the last verse. Looking back, that was an easy call to make, but remember: Busta Rhymes was somewhat of an unknown name at that time. Luckily, history has proven the Tipster right, as Busta Rhymes treated listeners to what I think is one of the greatest verses in hip-hop history and launched a successful solo career.

Case 6
Track: “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” by Dr. Dre
Album: The Chronic
Perpetrator: Snoop Dogg

Dr. Dre is without a doubt one of the greatest producers to ever step foot in a recording studio, but he's also the king of being renegaded. When you think of Dr. Dre’s most famous songs, he's being renegaded on most of them, including his biggest hit, “Nuthin But A G Thang.” Much “Scenario” did for Busta Rhymes, “Nuthin But A G Thang” launched Snoop Dogg into superstardom and established him as one of the west coast’s best MC’s. The words “One, two, three, uh, to the four. Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre is at the door” are some of the most famous in hip-hop. But they didn’t come out of Dre’s mouth. They came out of Snoop’s. In Dre’s defense, he's never claimed to be an incredible MC, which is probably why he frequently collaborated with the likes of Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

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