Today, Eminem recently released his comeback single, the Rick Rubin and Skylar Grey produced “Walk On Water.” As with any of Eminem’s recent music, it’s was basically put under the microscope the minute it dropped, with many fans divided about whether or not it delivered. Perhaps that was the entire point of “Walk On Water” in the first place. Either way, the song is still in its infancy, so perhaps it will resonate a little more once placed in the context of the album. For those who abide by the gospel of Slim with a paladin’s unwavering loyalty, it may very well have been the realest piece of writing Em has delivered in years. For others, perhaps the motivational chord progression and female popstar hook has become a stale formula.
Either way, it’s still fascinating to hear about Eminem’s creative process, and a new podcast from Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell called Broken Record provides some interesting insight. One of the most intriguing moments arises when Rick reflects on a discussion he had with Eminem about the rise of “Mumble Rap.” Apparently, Em has been struggling with “a new wave of hip-hop, that’s not really what he’s about.” According to Rubin, the whole thing seemed to “frustrate” Em, as the current generation is so far from the music he was raised on.
Rubin continues going into detail about Eminem’s method, describing his songwriting approach, stating “he wants the rhythm of the words to bounce off the beat in a very particular way.” The podcast includes an interview with Eminem himself, who refers to himself as a “student of hip hop.” The conversation continues with Em reflecting on his childhood insecurities, which seem to be returning to the forefront of his psyche in “Walk On Water.” “It’s a very mortal song,” says Em. “It’s about not being Superman, and what if I can’t come up with the best shit I wrote every single time?” Check out the whole podcast below, especially if you’re interested in Eminem’s current process.