Eminem’s “Walk On Water” single, a transparent expression of the immense guilt and pressure often associated with being famous, dropped last week, temporarily sending the rap internet into a frenzy. Much of the reason for that was the presence of the elusive Beyoncé, who handled the hook duties for the soon-to-be hit single. And though Beyoncé sounds right at home over the cautionary piano melody, it’s been revealed that JAY-Z was the one that brought the track to Mrs. Carter, along with the idea that she should feature on it.
On a new podcast, Broken Record, launched by Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell last week, Rubin, who produced “Walk On Water” with Skylar Grey, reveals that a recent visit with JAY-Z while Bey was out of town led to the moment that the song went from a solo track to a Beyoncé collab. Jay liked what he heard, and brought it to his wife. “The reason I wanted to play it for him is because, I’m sure these same feelings cross his mind,” says Rubin of that visit. “I’m sure these feelings cross the mind of any successful artist.” At the 8:45 mark, the brief story behind the track is told.
Parts of a conversation between Eminem and Rick Rubin also air during this segment of the podcast, including Em getting more detailed about the personal inspiration behind the song. “What if I can’t come up with the best shit I’ve ever wrote, every single time?” says Em, as he ponders the concept of career longevity.
Though nothing’s been officially announced yet, Eminem is expected to release his ninth solo studio album, Revival, in the near future. He confirmed the title of the project last week, and dropped “Walk On Water”—which you can listen to here—on Friday.
Listen to the entire debut episode of Broken Record here.