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Time To Build: The Making Of Jay Z’s ‘Blueprint’

Produced by EMINEM
Featured vocals: EMINEM

LENNY S: We actually had a record for Em to jump on. I can’t remember what it is. But Em was like, “Hey, I already got a joint that’s hot,
and I got a verse on it. I’ll do the hook and send it to you to see what you think.” Then he sent it. That’s why his flow is so retarded on it—it’s his beat, his joint. It was his baby… That was one of the last joints finished for the album, and it was cool, because it didn’t have a sample. So we were straight.

YOUNG GURU: [Jay and Eminem] discussed what they were gonna talk about, and Em sent the verses, and Jay just recorded to what Em had.
But he’d actually written his verse before he’d heard what Em had recorded. Eminem, that’s his whole thing, going against the whole pop culture. And Jay’s whole thing of being a renegade was… For the whole time that he’s been in rap, he’s been trying to say, Even though I’m in rap, and you view rap as this, we’re intelligent, thinking people. Jay’s expression is, I’m gonna be a renegade to pop culture, and culture in general, from the underclass perspective, the inner-city,
Black perspective. You put us in this position of not respecting us, and we’re supposed to be forgotten about, the sons of slaves. We’re just, like, whatever to y’all, so we’re renegades, because we don’t believe in that. So we’re gonna do what we wanna do, dress how we wanna dress and start our own companies.

JAY-Z: When I got the song, I pretty much dialed into the concept of the song, more than us rapping. I really dialed into the emotion of
the hook and the song, more so than listening to what he was saying. So I had that. Honestly, after it was done, everybody was like, “Yo,
White boy’s getting it in.”

EMINEM: We just made that track like any other, and the “Renegade” chorus just felt like it fit the track perfectly. I [did a demo of] the song with Royce [Da 5’9”]. But Jay came in with a short window to get something done for his album. So I asked Royce and he was cool if I gave it to Jay, and I sent it to him to knock it out. Jay just called me and asked if I would make something for us to be on for his album. It was an honor. I’m always down to work with him. He’s one of
the greatest ever. Unfortunately, we didn’t work on it together physically. It was done in two separate studios, one in Detroit and one in NY. Renegade just felt right for [Jay] to be on. It’s an open, sparse beat made for spitting, and I knew he would sound great on it. I never thought about changing my verses, really. The chorus was designed to go back and forth. The only thing Jay changed was one word, “holla about anything,” instead of what I said on the same part, “talk about anything.” He gave it his own flavor and holla was kind of his thing back when the term was new, which I thought was cool.

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