Eminem released his somber new single “Walk on Water” today (Nov. 10) featuring no percussion and Beyoncé on the hook. Now, he’s sat down with Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell for the inaugural episode of the latter two’s new podcast called Broken Record to talk about the making of the new single.
During the conversation, Em starts by speaking about recording the song at Rick Rubin’s Shangri La studio in Malibu and the frustration that led to him recording the track.
“People are always expecting something different from you,” says Em. “‘I want him to talk about this, I want him to talk about that. I want him to just spit. I don’t like when he just spits. He does too much rappity rappity shit. I don’t like when he self loathes, he does that shit too much. I don’t like when he puts all them syllables together but they don’t mean anything.’ There’s less places to go that you haven’t already been.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, Rubin says he played Em a Frank Zappa song in the initial stages of recording the song. Later on, Rubin also talks about how the new wave of rappers today is a “culture shock” to Em that can make him “frustrated.”
Em also reveals a key observation he had about how 2Pac rapped. “He always knew the right words to say on the right chords,” Shady explains. “He never said the wrong thing on the wrong chord.” That leads to him listing a ton of rappers he listened to when he was young, from 3rd Bass and Leaders of the New School to Flavor Unit and Poor Righteous Teachers.
Towards the end of the episode, Gladwell reveals that Rubin eventually played “Walk on Water” for JAY-Z, and Hov helped get Beyoncé on the record. Skylar Grey, who co-produced the record with Rubin, also wrote the hook.