Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, has without a doubt left his mark on hip-hop culture throughout his nearly 30-year-long career as a rapper. He’s somehow managed to remain relevant despite the shifting tides in music, making his latest comeback with a series of newly released singles, including “Walk on Water,” released Nov. 10, as well his powerful freestyle slamming President Donald Trump, which aired during this years BET Hip-Hop Awards.
“Walk on Water” is definitely a stylistic change from the rapper’s typically intense, bitter sound. The chorus, sung by 20-time Grammy winner Beyoncé, attempts to connect with the audience. Lyrics such as, “I walk on water, but I ain’t Jesus. I walk on water, but only when it freezes,” emphasize the fact that everyone has insecurities (No, Queen B isn’t perfect). This message is powerful when coming from two of the music industry’s most idolized artists.
Longtime Eminem fans know the rapper’s road to fame was anything but easy. After his initial debut with the track “My Name Is” in 1999, he was on the rise. However, he did run into some obstacles early in his career as he struggled with a prescription drug addiction around 2005. It wasn’t until a near fatal methadone overdose in 2008 that he attended rehab, and in 2009 that he pronounced himself sober. He alludes to his battle with drugs in his new song with lyrics such as, “That’s a hard Vicodin to swallow,” and “Am I lucky to be around this long? Begs the question though especially after the methadone.”
Eminem appears to be testing a new style of rap with his single. His choppy delivery is receiving both acclaim and criticism from those fond of the new sound, and those yearning to hear more from the “Real Slim Shady.”
From the tone of “Walk on Water,” it seems Eminem is considering stepping away from music, claiming, “The crowds are gone and it’s time to wash out the blonde. Sales decline, the curtain’s drawn.” But the song ends with a four second sample from Busta Rhymes’s 2014 single “Calm Down” featuring Eminem, in which he quips, “As long as I got a mic, I’m godlike, so me and you are not alike. B—–, I wrote ‘Stan.’” Eminem’s remarkably moving track “Stan” from his Marshall Mathers LP (2000) album is thought by some to be his best work and considered by Rolling Stone Magazine to be one of the 500 best songs of all time.
Eminem acknowledges his prime is now long behind him, and he can never hope to reach those levels of fame again. He says in the song, “And as I grow outta sight, outta mind, I might go outta mine/But when I do fall from these heights though, I’ll be fine/But I’ll decide if it’s my final bow this time around.”
While the bleach-blonde-haired rapper isn’t as big as he used to be, he goes down in hip-hop history as one of the best, and has once again proven his talent with “Walk on Water.” Eminem fans currently await his latest album, “Revival,” set to release Nov. 17.
“Walk on Water” is now available on iTunes and Spotify.