The rap world was all the buzz in the music industry after Eminem dropped his brand-new single, “Walk On Water,” late last week. Featuring a soaring melodic turn form Beyonce on the chorus, Eminem’s intense, reflective lyrics deal with the immense pressure he feels not only from those in the record business, but from fans as well, to live up to what he thinks are unreasonably high expectations. Though some may have felt let down by the subdued, restrained nature of the song’s sonic composition, his re-teaming with mentor Dr. Dre on his upcoming LP Revival continues to give Em supporters reason for optimism.
Earlier today (November 12th), Eminem took to the MTV EMA stage to perform the new single without the aid of Queen Bey. Instead, his frequent collaborator Skylar Grey filled in for the female vocal duties on the track. Clad in his traditional hoodie and some white sneakers, a bearded Slim Shady impressed with his rapid-fire delivery and the raw emotion that he was able to channel with his lyrics. You can check out footage from the performance below.
— MTV Asia (@mtvasia) November 12, 2017
Taking place at the SSE Arena Wembley in London, the live rendition had been hinted at for quite some time, especially once speculation of the single’s release began to increase before last Friday. French Montana, Travis Scott and Stormzy are among the other performers who will be part of the MTV EMA spectacular today. Eminem’s devoted U.K. following was no doubt thrilled to have him present at the show, with graffiti-style “Guess Who’s Back” artwork gracing the pavement near the venue, as per a report from NME.
Where does this put Eminem’s sound on Revival? Probably at a counterpoint to mumble rap’s style, according to a conversation that Rick Rubin had with Malcolm Gladwell on their new podcast. Supposedly, Slim Shady is feeling frustrated with “a new wave of hip-hop, that’s not really what he’s about,” at least in the eyes of Rubin. Whether or not Eminem sees himself as the man who can bring the genre back from the doldrums of rap’s current mumble-inspired fads remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that every hip-hop’s holiday calendar will be getting a much-needed shot in the arm with the rest of Mr. Mathers’ new material.