This past Friday was an exciting one on the music front for several reasons, one of them being the release of Taylor Swift’s long-awaited album Reputation, another being the release of a new Eminem single featuring Queen Bey. “Walk on Water“, produced by Rick Rubin and co-written by Skylar Grey (who co-wrote Eminem and Rihanna’s hit single “Love the Way You Lie”) and Beyonce, is a downbeat rumination on failing to meet one’s own expectations, a theme present in many of Eminem’s verses.
“Why are expectations so high?” he begins. “Is it the bar I set, my arms outstretched, but I can’t reach? … I lose my grip like the flying trapeze, Into the dark I plummet …
“Always in search of the verse I haven’t spit yet, will this step just be another misstep?/
To tarnish whatever the legacy or love or respect I’ve garnered/
The ryhme has to be perfect, the delivery flawless/
And it always feels like I’m hitting the mark
Till I go sit in the car, listen and pick it apart
Like ‘This sh– is garbage”
You can check out full audio of “Walk on Water” below.
When Eminem announced “Walk on Water” via Instagram, it was with the hashtag “Revival”, which is what fans and critics believe to be his long-awaited upcoming album. Revival has no official release date, but it’s expected to arrive any time between now and the end of the year. The album’s title, which was at the center of an elaborate fake advertising campaign teased by Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg earlier in the month, could complete Eminem’s triumvirate of albums inspired by his struggle with addiction—2009’s “Relapse” and 2010’s “Recovery.” His most recent album was 2013’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2″.
With a haunting string section, muted percussion, an emotional piano melody, and verses broken up by Eminem’s scribbling hand and frustrated swearing, “Walk on Water” appears to be a matured version of the angst and sadness we first heard on 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP. “Walk on Water” also echoes the tone of “The Storm“—a fiery anti-Trump track—and “Campaign Speech“, a long-form political tirade against the current social atmosphere. Though it’s been four years since we’ve seen a new Eminem album, his honest perspective and willingness to “go there” continues to reverberate through and through.
— MTV Asia (@mtvasia) November 12, 2017
This past Sunday, Eminem performed “Walk on Water” at the MTV EMA’s, where he was also awarded Best Hip-Hop Artist, a curious choice because, as he said, “I’m not really sure how I got this ’cause I haven’t had an album out for a few years”. But he took the opportunity to thank his fans, MTV, and to shout out Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real “For so much inspiration, these guys are like gods to me.”
Eminem is the scheduled musical guest for SNL this Sunday, November 18th. Chance the Rapper will act as host, which is surprising but understandable since we’re not sure it’s even possible for him to top his past SNL performances. Will Beyonce drop by to help Eminem perform “Walk on Water”? We don’t think it’s out of the question, especially considering Bey’s close connections with SNL, Chance, and New York City in general.
The release date of Eminem’s upcoming album Revival has yet to be announced, but we suggest tuning into SNL this weekend for (possibly) another single from the forthcoming record.