Representing: Detroit, Michigan
For fans of: Dr Dre, Royce da 5’9”
Single from: Revival
Produced by: Rick Rubin, Skylar Grey
Song of the Day: January 8, 2017
Label(s): Aftermath Entertainment/Shady Records/Interscope Records
arshall Bruce Mathers III, known professionally as Eminem, released his ninth studio album called ‘Revival’, through Aftermath Entertainment, Shady Records, and Interscope Records on December 15, 2017. Then, on December 23, just eight days after the release of ‘Revival’, the official video for the album’s lead single, ‘Walk on Water’, featuring Beyoncé, was uploaded to Eminem’s Vevo channel.
One lone limelight emits a bright white beam that runs right through the absolute darkness. The camera moves downward. The focus is still on the spotlight when Beyoncé’s melodious voice starts to reverberate,
“I walk on water. But I ain’t no Jesus. I walk on water. But only when it freezes.”
The limelight reveals a microphone sitting atop a microphone stand. Then, Eminem comes into view, sitting on a chair, on a stage, contemplating something. He delivers his first verse,
“Why, are expectations so high? Is it the bar I set? My arms, I stretch, but I can’t reach. A far cry from it, or it’s in my grasp, but as soon as I grab, squeeze. I lose my grip like the flying trapeze. Into the dark, I plummet. Now the sky’s blackening, I know the mark’s high. Butterflies rip apart my stomach. Knowing that no matter what bars I come with. You’re gonna hark, gripe, and that’s a hard Vicodin to swallow. So I scrap these, as pressure increases, like khakis. I feel the ice cracking, because…”
While Beyoncé croons the chorus again, Eminem rises from the chair where he was sitting. He walks towards the limelight, puts his hand right through it, and then grabs the microphone. House lights turn on to reveal that he’s standing on stage in a theatre. But, there’s no audience.
He delivers his second verse while stage-hands prepare the stage behind him, in fast-motion, “It’s the curse of the standard. That the first of the Mathers disc set. Always in search of the verse that I haven’t spit yet. Will this step just be another misstep? To tarnish whatever the legacy, love or respect, I’ve garnered? The rhyme has to be perfect, the delivery flawless. And it always feels like I’m hitting the mark ’til I go sit in the car, listen, and pick it apart. Like, “this shit is garbage.” God’s given me all this. Still, I feel no different regardless. Kids look to me like as a god, this is retarded. If only they knew, it’s a facade, and it’s exhaustive. And I try to not listen to nonsense. But if you bitches are trying to strip me of my confidence. Mission accomplished. I’m not God-sent. Nas, Rakim, Pac, Big, James Todd Smith, and I’m not Prince, so…”
The camera moves behind Eminem, showing his perspective: A single spotlight that’s shining right at him in an empty, dim lit theatre.
In one more scene that repeats throughout the video, a roomful of Eminem clones are sitting behind their desks, and they’re writing on typewriters. Each clone puts in writing oodles of mumbo jumbo. Then, they take what they’ve written and tossed their papers to the floor.
Although Beyoncé never makes a physical appearance in this video, her presence is nevertheless felt on ‘Walk on Water’, when she immaculately sings the songs chorus and post-chorus,
“I walk on water. But I ain’t no Jesus. I walk on water. But only when it freezes. ’Cause I’m only human, just like you. Making my mistakes, oh if you only knew. I don’t think you should believe in me the way you do. ’Cause I’m terrified to let you down.”
Eminem’s inward-looking, self-analyzing and sometimes brooding verses give his song an introspective vibe. Beyoncé’s chorus & post-chorus, do so, to the same extent. It’s the mellow piano melodies, played by Skylar Grey, the singer-songwriter who helped produce this song with Rick Rubin, that gives ‘Walk on Water’, its sombre finesse.
You’ll have to watch the video to see what happens next. We’ll promise you one thing: You’ll go on an adventure through time with Eminem, where you’ll catch a glimpse of him changing wardrobe in fast-motion. You’ll also see his audiences applauding him while being replaced in fast-motion too. This bit of the video could be a reference to the many stages of the rappers prosperous career, which almost spans three decades.