Non-substantive hip hop arguments after basketball was one of my favorite past times in the summers. Did LL really win? Was Tupac a fake thug? Did AZ get Nas on Life’s a Bitch? (No, Yes and Yes are the correct answers to those questions by the way). The most interesting one to me was how Jay completely switched his style up and adapted a more rhyme-intensive style on Renegade. Jay, as good as he is, is a notorious biter. But surely he wouldn’t bite someone’s style on the SAME track and get away with it, right? Even more so, this style biting surely can’t be measurable? Well, let’s take a look at their respective production on this track.
Both go 36 bars on this track with Eminem using slightly longer words on average. However, Jay-Z posted a rhyme density of 0.44 on this song. To put this in perspective it’s the highest rhyme density score on Blueprint by quite a large margin and only 22 Two’s on Reasonable Doubt has a higher score (mostly due to the word repetition inflating the rhyme score). What does this all mean? Well for one, Eminem DID outrhyme Jay-Z on this song. However, Eminem averaged almost 15 syllables per line and just wasn’t as clever or interesting on this song. Jay packed much more relevant content while flexing rhyming muscles he hasn’t shown often. Did he bite Em’s style or did he just realize that he was going to have to come incredibly efficient on a song next to Marshall? I don’t know. I can’t measure that.