Eminem, the rapper born as Marshall Mathers, is known worldwide as one of the first white emcees to be loved, accepted and embraced by the hip hop community and is now considered among the best in the industry with regard to his lyricism. For Mathers, making music has never been about material things or fame but has always been about lyrics and penmanship.
Many consider Mathers one of the best lyricists in hip hop, and he is always mentioned in conversations regarding the best rappers of all time. The rapper uses wit, humour and complex rhyme schemes in his tracks, creating flows that certain rappers are incapable of.
A true master of tongue-twisting verses, lyrical skill and rapid-fire delivery, the rapper is most certainly held in high regard. However, so is Jay-Z, and when the two got on their legendary track ‘Renegade’ naturally, there was a sense of competition, and fans were quick to compare.
Released in 2001 Jay-Z’s album, The Blueprint, had hip hop fans ecstatic and eager to hear what the two had come up with, but (almost immediately) the comparisons began. The writing was on the wall that Eminem had got one over on Jay, with even Nas mentioning it on his legendary ‘Ether’ diss track aimed at Jay-Z, on which he mocked Carter stating, “Eminem murdered you on your own shit!”
With Eminem considered by many to be the so-called ‘winner’, in an interview with music publication Genius, the rapper was asked about his writing technique and how he can come up with such dynamic flows. Speaking on his writing process, the Detroit rapper explained, “When I’m writing, I’m in the syllable game. I’m connecting five-six-seven-eight syllable phrases where every syllable rhymes. I get heavy into that. When I start rapping something, and I think of more syllables that connect with it, sometimes I want to just keep the scheme going forever.”
Elaborating on how he has done it on more than one occasion, the rapper continued, “I’ve done it before in songs, where the syllable scheme of the first verse ends up being the syllable scheme of the second verse, and the third verse — all the way down. I do it because the lines start connecting and making sense. Once I find something and lock in, it comes out pretty quick.”
As well as featuring on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, ‘Renegade’ also appears on Eminem’s 2005 greatest hits album, Curtain Call: The Hits. You can listen to ‘Renegade’ in the video below and decide which verse you prefer.